Fact Check

Kyle Rittenhouse 'Banned' from Marines After Badly Failing Military Entrance Exam?

The U.S. Military requires all potential enlistees to take an exam called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

Published April 8, 2024

 ( Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Kyle Rittenhouse scored so low on the ASVAB test, which is required for enlistment into the U.S. Armed Forces, that he was permanently disqualified from serving in the Marines.

In the first week of April 2024, numerous accounts on X (formerly known as Twitter) shared posts suggesting that Kyle Rittenhouse, the then-teenager who shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a August 2020 protest against police brutality, had done so poorly on an entrance exam for the U.S. Marine Corps that he was permanently barred from enlisting in the service. The posts included an email stating that Rittenhouse attempted to join the Marines in January 2020 as evidence.

The claim spread rapidly across social media, with accounts either defending or mocking Rittenhouse's actions. We set out to determine whether the image was authentic and whether the claim it supported was true.

The email is supposedly from a Kenosha Police Field Report, which Snopes is attempting to obtain. We have cropped the image to allow for greater readability. (X user @ChasinWhiteCaps)

In a profile on Rittenhouse written less than a week after the events in Kenosha, The Washington Post noted that he had attempted to join the Marines in early 2020 but was "disqualified from serving after discussing his options with recruiters." Yvonne Carlock, the service spokesperson who talked to The Post for the story, did not explain why he was disqualified from service, citing privacy guidelines. This does confirm that Rittenhouse was disqualified from service, however. 

Is the Image Real?

Our first task was to determine whether the image was real, and our first lead came from a Reddit post. In the comments section of the post, one user claimed the email was real and originated from a particular page in the Kenosha Police Department's field report on Rittenhouse's actions. That user claimed the information could be accessed with a public records request. So, Snopes sent such a request to the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.

Under Wisconsin's Open Records Law, police departments and sheriffs must either deliver requested documents "as soon as practicable and without delay," or inform the interested party that the request has been denied. If they choose to deny the request, they must write and explain why. Information Snopes found on the Kenosha Police Department's website suggested that we would hear back within 10 business days, which is the standard time estimate given for Freedom of Information Act requests.

In the meantime, we tracked down posts on X that showed an additional set of emails from the same document. We now had a list of the names of five FBI agents. Snopes was able to find public information confirming three of them were indeed FBI employees. A fourth showed up in Google search results, but did not appear on the linked pages. The fifth individual, Rebecca-Lynn Laufer, was the only individual we could not find any public information about. This level of detailed accuracy signifies that either this is a highly detailed fake, complete with real FBI employees, or it is real.

Next, we investigated the source of the information. One X post by David Hancock, who claimed that he advised Rittenhouse during his trial but had since regretted his actions, credited the image to another X account run by a man named Paul Prediger.

In Kenosha, Rittenhouse shot and killed two people, and injured a third. Prediger, formerly known as Gaige Grosskreutz, is the man Rittenhouse wounded but did not kill. Snopes reached out to Prediger, Hancock and Rittenhouse for comment and is in direct contact with Prediger. He was able to provide the 938-page Kenosha police report on Rittenhouse, which contained the email in question on page 572.

Although the massive document would be incredibly hard to fake, Snopes has rated this claim "Research In Process" while we wait for our own, independent records request to be fulfilled so we can use it to cross-reference the documents provided by Prediger. This story will be updated with more information as we receive it.

Is the Low Test Score the Reason Rittenhouse Was Barred from Enlisting?

This part of the claim was much simpler: It is almost certainly false that Rittenhouse was barred from enlisting because of a low test score.

There are two ways to interpret the wording of the email in question, and only one of those interpretations leads to the idea that Rittenhouse was disqualified because of a low test score.

His test score was far below the required minimum and was permanently disqualified from entering the USMC.

The first interpretation of the above sentence from the email is that the "and" serves as a "therefore." This could be rephrased as "his test score was far below the required minimum, and therefore he was disqualified from enlisting."

But the test mentioned in the article, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, is not something you're allowed to take only once, according to the U.S. Army's website:

You can take the ASVAB test multiple times, but there are rules regarding how frequently. After your first attempt, you must wait one calendar month to retake the test. Your third attempt can be administered no earlier than six calendar months after your second test.

The second interpretation of the sentence more cleanly matches the wording: The word "and" means "in addition." This reading implies that Rittenhouse's ASVAB score was very low, but it was not the reason that he was disqualified.

So Why Was Rittenhouse Disqualified?

Snopes is currently looking into this, and will update the story with more information as we learn it.

Until then, we can say with relative confidence that Rittenhouse's test scores were low, but they were not the reason he was permanently disqualified from enlisting in the Marines. 


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Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.