An airman at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been reduced in rank from master sergeant to technical sergeant after an investigation into his alleged ties to a white nationalist group.
But Tech. Sgt. Cory Reeves remains in the Air Force as of now, according to the Air Force. It remains unclear whether the Air Force will move to separate him.
Reeves, who was then a master sergeant at the 50th Space Wing at Schriever, was identified as a member and organizer of Identity Evropa by the group Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists in an online post in April. The anti-fascist group also alleged Reeves has distributed white supremacist propaganda in Colorado several times.
The Anti-Defamation League classifies Identity Evropa as a white supremacist group that focuses on preserving “white American identity” and claims America was not intended to be a multiracial or multicultural society.
Air Force regulations prohibit membership in supremacist groups, and airmen who participate in such groups are subject to adverse actions.
In response to an inquiry by Air Force Times as to whether Reeves was still serving as a master sergeant, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek on Nov. 10 said Reeves is currently a tech sergeant in the Air Force. His duty title is now technician, and he became a tech sergeant on Sept. 11.
Stefanek previously said in an August email that the Air Force had completed its investigation into Reeves’ alleged white nationalist ties, and “the commander is taking the action deemed appropriate.”
But Stefanek said then no further details on what disciplinary actions may have been taken against Reeves as a result of the investigation could be released due to the Privacy Act. Releasing an airmen’s current rank is a releasable fact not covered by the act.
“Racism, bigotry, hatred and discrimination have no place in the Air Force,” Stefanek said in August. “We are committed to maintaining a culture where all airmen feel welcome and can thrive.”
The day after this story was originally posted, Stefanek sent another statement in a follow-up email:
“Our core values demand that airmen treat others with genuine dignity, fairness, and respect at all times whether their actions are in person or on social media," Stefanek said in the Nov. 13 email. "When airmen fall short of this expectation, they are held accountable. Each case is evaluated based on the facts presented.”
Reeves declined, through Schriever officials, to comment for this story.
As of April, Reeves was an operations superintendent, in the 1C6 space systems operations career field, in the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever, according to information released by the Air Force Personnel Center. He entered active duty in November 2003, AFPC said.
Concerns about the influence and reach of white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations in the military have been growing in recent years. A Military Times poll in fall 2018 found about 22 percent of service members said they saw signs of white nationalism or racist ideology in the ranks, about the same as the previous year’s poll. But an increasing percentage of non-white service members reported signs of white nationalism or racism — up from 42 percent in 2017 to more than half the following year.
Activists earlier this month released online a database for the neo-Nazi forum Iron March, which included chat logs of discussions involving purported service members and others who expressed a desire to join the military. Iron March is the organizational birthplace of the Atomwaffen Division, a violent neo-Nazi organization in America viewed by some as a domestic terrorist group.
The anti-fascist group in Colorado, in their original post on Reeves, said he was a “patron” member of Identity Evropa, who contributed more monthly dues than regular members pay. It also posted photographs, allegedly of Reeves wearing clothes with Identity Evropa’s logo and taking part in one of the group’s protests. The 50th Space Wing earlier this year would not confirm whether Reeves is in the photos, but confirmed images of Reeves appear to match the photos posted by the anti-fascist group.
When asked about Reeves’ alleged activities in April, the Air Force pointed to Air Force Instruction 51-508, which prohibits Air Force personnel from “actively advocating supremacist, extremist or criminal gang doctrine, ideology or causes, including those that advance, encourage or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity or national origin or those that advance, encourage or advocate the use of force, violence or criminal activity or otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.”
This story has been updated to include an additional statement from the Air Force provided after its initial publication.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter at Defense News. He previously reported for Military.com, covering the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare. Before that, he covered U.S. Air Force leadership, personnel and operations for Air Force Times.