Rest Easy, Gunny

 

R. Lee Ermey, USMC drill instructor, bordello owner, Golden Globe nominated actor and TV host is dead at age 74.

Statement from R. Lee Ermey’s long time manager, Bill Rogin: “It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (“The Gunny”) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us.”

After an 11-year stint, which included training new recruits at USMCRD – San Diego and 14 months in-country in Vietnam, Ermey was separated from the Corps for injuries. “After medical retirement… I didn’t know what to do, so I bought a run-down bar and whorehouse in Okinawa. I was doing a little black-marketing and the Okinawan FBI was hot on my trail, so I boogied on out to the Philippines.”

There he met Francis Ford Coppola who cast him as a helicopter pilot in 1979’s Apocalypse Now. But it was Stanley Kubrick who made him a star by upping his technical advisor to the role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Having been a D.I., he wrote his own material and received very little direction from Kubrick.

The language was pure Corps of the 1970s. None of the best lines can be quoted here. (In one of the best all-time edit jobs, Sgt. Hartman’s rants were put to footage of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in a piece called Full Metal Parka. Go ahead and Google it.)

Ermey had retired as a Staff Sergeant but was made an honorary Gunny by the Commandant of the Marine Corps General James L. Jones for his service to the Corps in 2002, the only time that has been done.

His career was sidetracked when he criticized President Barack Obama at a Toys for Tots fundraiser in 2010. “We should all rise up, and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing because they’re destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us, and that’s exactly what they’re doing, and I’m sick and damn tired of it and I know you are too.” He lost a GEICO contract because of it and consequently lost out on a lot of other work, too.

”I don’t know what it is with these idiots down there in Hollyweird. They just have no taste.”

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Published in Culture
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There are 27 comments.

  1. Thatcher

    Dammit. Piece by piece, the world gets less interesting.

    • #1
    • April 15, 2018 at 6:21 pm
    • 15 likes
  2. Member

    Godspeed Gunny! RIP …

    • #2
    • April 15, 2018 at 6:24 pm
    • 11 likes
  3. Thatcher

    I’d love to post a clip of Ermey’s epic performance in Full Metal Jacket, but they’re all NSFW.

    • #3
    • April 15, 2018 at 6:41 pm
    • 7 likes
  4. Coolidge
    ST

    a great loss. sad for us but at least now he can talk sea-stories with the street’s guards in heaven.

    from the 3rd verse of the USMC hymn with minor edits:

    Here’s health to you, Gunny, and to our Corps
    Which we are proud to serve;
    In many a strife we’ve fought for life
    And never lost our nerve.
    If the Army and the Navy
    Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
    They will find the streets are guarded
    By United States Marines.

    • #4
    • April 15, 2018 at 6:44 pm
    • 12 likes
  5. Thatcher

    Fair Winds and Following Seas, Gunny, till you’re safely Ashore…(note the Marine verse [J. E. Seim, 1966] in this version).

    • #5
    • April 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm
    • 8 likes
  6. Thatcher

    Here’s one that’s mostly PG:

    • #6
    • April 15, 2018 at 6:47 pm
    • 14 likes
  7. Coolidge

    I went through basic training in the Air Force, which is much less strenuous and less colorful than the Marine Corps but it was pretty close to “Full Metal Jacket” in tone. That was in 1959 and I’m sure it is unrecognizable now. What a shame! Especially the story of him being punished by the SJWs.

    • #7
    • April 15, 2018 at 6:57 pm
    • 6 likes
  8. Thatcher

    God speed, Gunny. 

    • #8
    • April 15, 2018 at 7:02 pm
    • 6 likes
  9. Coolidge

    I haven’t seen it, but I believe his first role was in “The Boys of Company C.” It predates “Full Metal Jacket” by nine years.

    • #9
    • April 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm
    • 4 likes
  10. Member

    A friend of mine, Jerry, is a former United States Marine. When Full Metal Jacket came out he watched it with his wife. After watching Ermey’s performance, Jerry said to his wife, “That’s not an actor. That’s a real drill instructor!” His wife asked, “How do you know that?”

    Jerry replied, “Believe me. I know!”

    R.I.P.

    • #10
    • April 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm
    • 18 likes
  11. Member

    God speed. I’m sure you’re with good, good friends. With stories to tell. xo

    • #11
    • April 15, 2018 at 10:49 pm
    • 6 likes
  12. Member

    • #12
    • April 15, 2018 at 11:45 pm
    • 9 likes
  13. Coolidge
    ST

    He was a hot ticket as the guest speaker for the Marine Corps (pro tip: the S is silent) Birthday Ball. I know because I was the ‘Ball’ coordinator (oh joy!) one year and I tried to get him but too late, he had already committed to another unit. As I recall, he was also a cheap date and would not accept plane fair, per diem, honorarium, etc., from the unit that he spoke to – unlike the majority of our public servants.

    He was much beloved by his beloved Corps.

    • #13
    • April 15, 2018 at 11:53 pm
    • 16 likes
  14. Member

    RIP Gunny.

     

     

    • #14
    • April 16, 2018 at 2:25 am
    • Like
  15. Thatcher

    Well done, Gunny! Rest easy.

    • #15
    • April 16, 2018 at 3:09 am
    • 4 likes
  16. Coolidge

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I haven’t seen it, but I believe his first role was in “The Boys of Company C.” It predates “Full Metal Jacket” by nine years.

    Ermey on his early film career and FMJ:

    • #16
    • April 16, 2018 at 4:28 am
    • 2 likes
  17. Coolidge

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I’d love to post a clip of Ermey’s epic performance in Full Metal Jacket, but they’re all NSFW.

    I prefer to believe that the movie ended after the murder/suicide scene. There’s just no point in watching after that.

    • #17
    • April 16, 2018 at 10:53 am
    • 7 likes
  18. Coolidge
    ST

    Umbra of Nex, Fractus (View Comment):

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I’d love to post a clip of Ermey’s epic performance in Full Metal Jacket, but they’re all NSFW.

    I prefer to believe that the movie ended after the murder/suicide scene. There’s just no point in watching after that.

    Finally someone says out loud what have been thinking since I first saw the movie.

    • #18
    • April 16, 2018 at 11:51 am
    • 5 likes
  19. Member

    ST (View Comment):

    Umbra of Nex, Fractus (View Comment):

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I’d love to post a clip of Ermey’s epic performance in Full Metal Jacket, but they’re all NSFW.

    I prefer to believe that the movie ended after the murder/suicide scene. There’s just no point in watching after that.

    Finally someone says out loud what have been thinking since I first saw the movie.

    I didn’t care for that scene myself. At some point in boot camp a troubled soul will be classified as not suitable for military life and sent back home on the bus.

    • #19
    • April 16, 2018 at 12:02 pm
    • 6 likes
  20. Coolidge
    ST

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    At some point in boot camp a troubled soul will be classified as not suitable for military life and sent back home on the bus.

    Not always. A guy in my older brothers’s (USMC) platoon hung himself (to death).

    • #20
    • April 16, 2018 at 1:26 pm
    • Like
  21. Thatcher

    Gunny’s Rules just landed on my Kindle; should we Skype-chat watch FMJ, folks? The Church-Lady/Chaplain-Panda/Jarine should probably watch it, yes/no? If the Gunny made sure it was “real”, how “true” was it?

    • #21
    • April 16, 2018 at 1:41 pm
    • Like
  22. Member

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    A friend of mine, Jerry, is a former United States Marine. When Full Metal Jacket came out he watched it with his wife. After watching Ermey’s performance, Jerry said to his wife, “That’s not an actor. That’s a real drill instructor!” His wife asked, “How do you know that?”

    Jerry replied, “Believe me. I know!”

    R.I.P.

    Jerry, born in 1946, told me there was a time that when a young man got into trouble with the law, he might be given two choices: jail or the United States Marine Corps. In Jerry’s opinion, the smart ones picked jail.

    • #22
    • April 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    • 4 likes
  23. Coolidge

    In Full Medal Jacket the only officer presented in a positive light was a Norte Dame Marine Officer. Sadly he was killed very soon after meeting him. 

    • #23
    • April 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm
    • 1 like
  24. Thatcher

    Skyler (View Comment):

    In Full Metal Jacket the only officer presented in a positive light was a Notre Dame Marine Officer. Sadly he was killed very soon after meeting him.

    Appreciate the context, @skyler! It’s probably good to remember that the director and others may not have shared the Gunny’s understanding and affection.

    • #24
    • April 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    • Like
  25. Member

    Rest easy, indeed. He and men like him made and make it possible for the rest of us to do so.

    Requiescat in pace.

    • #25
    • April 16, 2018 at 3:37 pm
    • 3 likes
  26. Member

    Here’s a Picture of the Gunny and I at a meet and greet at a WWII reenactment weekend from a long time ago. RIP

    • #26
    • April 16, 2018 at 7:18 pm
    • 5 likes
  27. Thatcher

    ST (View Comment):

    He was a hot ticket as the guest speaker for the Marine Corps (pro tip: the S is silent) Birthday Ball. I know because I was the ‘Ball’ coordinator (oh joy!) one year and I tried to get him but too late, he had already committed to another unit. As I recall, he was also a cheap date and would not accept plane fair, per diem, honorarium, etc., from the unit that he spoke to – unlike the majority of our public servants.

    He was much beloved by his beloved Corps.

    May I ask who you did get to speak for that particular ‘Ball’? And were you “voluntold” for the task? :-)

    • #27
    • April 16, 2018 at 8:15 pm
    • Like