In one of the more disturbing stories I’ve read in some time, a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division has been booted from the service and later discovered to be espousing racial hatred online. According to  Army spokesman Lt. Col. Terence Kelley, Twenty-one-year-old Specialist Killian Mackeith Ryan was arrested on Aug. 26 and charged with making false statements on an application for a secret security clearance. He was discharged the same day. A defense spokesman stated that the former paratrooper had been dismissed for multiple instances of driving under the influence.

Killian Mackeith Ryan was arrested on August 26th after he was found to have knowingly made a false statement on an application for a secret security clearance. After his arrest, he was found to have strong ties to white supremacist hate groups—screenshot from WRAL TV.

It is alleged that on his application for the security clearance, Ryan lied about his relationship with his father, who had multiple felony convictions for drug offenses and auto theft. He claimed that he had no contact with him in the past ten years. However, according to court records, the two had been in touch in person and through social media accounts multiple times. According to the Toronto Star, Ryan had allegedly falsely stated that his biological father was not listed on his birth certificate. In addition, investigators found photos of Ryan and his father at his 2019 high school graduation posted online.

When he was discharged, Ryan acted as a fire support specialist, a job requiring a secret security clearance. According to Lt. Col. Kelley, “this role requires gathering intelligence on enemy target positions in deploying and firing artillery.” Moreover, sources at CNN said that Ryan had served with the 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery, and the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment. In a strange coincidence, my regimental affiliation during my time as a cadet at Fort Bragg was with the 1st of the 319th FAR.

Soldiers from 1-319 FA conducted live-fire exercises in Estonia in 2021. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Van Wey/DVIDS

After he was removed from the service, however, Ryan found his troubles were just starting.

The FBI‘s Joint Terrorism Task Force began looking deeper into Ryans’ background, and their search revealed strong ties to white nationalist hate groups and multiple threats against minorities. They reviewed several social media accounts he had held over the past ten years. Some of these accounts were established with Ryan using the email address “naziace 1488”. In one of his more troubling posts from May 27th, 2021, Ryan allegedly stated:

“I serve for combat experience, so I’m more proficient in killing n*****s.”

That statement was posted roughly two weeks after he enlisted in the Army.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), there is significance to the numerals used in Ryan’s choice of an email address. The number 14 is short for a 14-word slogan containing the words “future for white children.” The number 88 is known in white supremacist circles to stand for “Heil Hitler”; this is because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.