West Point raised fist photo investigation clears those involved

This snapshot of cadets, including on West Point grounds, is causing an uproar.

This snapshot of cadets, including a raised fist on West Point grounds, caused an uproar.

An Army investigation into a controversial photo of 16 black female cadets at the U.S.Military Academy giving a raised fist salute has concluded with no punitive action taken.

As detailed in a previous Guns.com article, the image first popped up on the popular blog of veteran and motivational speaker John Burk last week, citing long-standing Department of Defense directives against attending political events in uniform and the display of political statements at one’s residence on a military base.

The public outcry and subsequent inquiry by the school found the cadet’s gesture was intended to demonstrate “unity” and “pride,” not a political statement.

“Some have suggested that this photo solely represents political activism. The inquiry determined that this is not the case and the Commandant and I accept that finding,” wrote Lt. Gen Robert Caslen in a letter to the Corps of Cadets on Tuesday.

Caslen went on to lament that the image, among many taken in an ode to “Old Corps” photos of the 19th Century, directed attention to the Academy for the wrong reasons. While no punishment will be meted out to the cadets in question, the Commandant will give them “a developmental block of instruction” to impart the teaching point brought up between intent and impact.

Burk, the blogger and former drill sergeant who drew attention to the image, responded to the news by saying in part, “Remember in school when we did something wrong with our friends and we decided to come up with a story so that we would all say the same thing and not get into trouble? Yea, I remember those days.”