Technical Sgt. Cory Reeves, a Colorado airman who was found to have ties to a white nationalist group and demoted from master sergeant, has been discharged from the Air Force.
Reeves, who the Office of Special Investigations last year confirmed was an active participant and fund-raiser for the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, was discharged Aug. 14, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in an email Monday. The type of discharge Reeves received could not be released due to the Privacy Act, she said.
Reeves was an operations superintendent with the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, 50th Space Wing, at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs when allegations about his involvement with Identity Evropa surfaced last year. In April 2019, a group called Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists posted photographs allegedly of Reeves wearing Identity Evropa-branded clothing and taking part in one of its protests. The group also accused Reeves of distributing white supremacist propaganda on several occasions and being a “patron” member, who contributed more each month than typical members pay.
OSI launched an investigation into Reeves, which was finished by August 2019. Reeves was demoted from master sergeant to technical sergeant shortly afterwards. In December, the Air Force said that discharge proceedings were pending against Reeves, and by February, the board had recommended he be discharged. Because Reeves had served in the Air Force for more than 16 years by that point — he entered active duty in November 2003 — the Air Force said he was entitled to a review of that recommendation, which is now finished.
The Air Force has repeatedly declined to release the investigation to Air Force Times, citing the Privacy Act.
Robert Grabosky, OSI’s deputy director of law enforcement, told lawmakers in a Feb. 11 House Armed Services subcommittee hearing that the investigation had confirmed Reeves was an active participant and fund-raiser for the group. Grabosky said Reeves also received a letter of reprimand, along with losing a stripe, for that activity.
Lawmakers blasted the Air Force in that hearing for its perceived slowness to act in Reeves' case.
“Only recently, after facing intense pressure, did the Air Force decide to begin the process of removing [Reeves] from the military, and that’s a concern to me,” said Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, in the hearing. She suggested the Air Force’s failure to act more quickly hurt morale and unit cohesion and undermined the military’s efforts to improve diversity.
Grabosky also said at that hearing that OSI does not investigate airmen for “mere participation” in a white nationalist organization, but would investigate “active participation," such as attending rallies, fund-raising or taking part in an organization’s activities.
Reeves' investigation and discharge come at a time of increased concern about white nationalism in the United States. In a Military Times poll conducted this summer, nearly half of troops surveyed said that white nationalism is a national security threat, which is about the same percentage of troops worried about al-Qaida or the Islamic State. More surveyed troops were worried about white nationalism than the threat posed by North Korea or Afghanistan.
About one-third of active-duty respondents said they had seen signs of white supremacist or racist ideology in the ranks, which is about the same as in previous surveys. And 57 percent of minority service members reported personally experiencing some form of racist or white supremacist behavior.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.