5 Little-Identified Details About R. Lee Ermey, the Navy’s Favourite Gunny

Most individuals know R. Lee Ermey from his position as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Steel Jacket.” And in the event you one way or the other joined the army and by no means noticed “Full Steel Jacket,” the primary query anybody would ask is “How is that even doable?” However the second can be “How a lot have you learnt about this man, anyway?”

Ermey didn’t go proper into appearing and if it weren’t for his Marine Corps-level willpower, we’d by no means know him in any respect. Which might be a disgrace, as a result of his life earlier than and after Full Steel Jacket is equally attention-grabbing.


1. His first job after the army was untraditional.

Ermey was medically retired from the Marine Corps and was at a loss about what to do as a civilian. He instructed Leisure Weekly in a 1997 interview that he “purchased a run-down bar and whorehouse” in Okinawa. He needed to go away the enterprise behind when the Japanese FBI caught wind of his black advertising. He escaped to the Philippines, the place he met his spouse.

2. His first position was an Army helicopter pilot.

It was whereas within the Philippines that the long run Gunnery Sergeant was solid in “Apocalypse Now” by Francis Ford Coppola himself. Ermey was learning drama and did quite a lot of Filipino movies earlier than Coppola found him. You may see him in yet one more legendary battle film scene.


Coppola additionally employed him because the movie’s technical advisor for all issues army.

3. He wasn’t imagined to be in “Full Steel Jacket.”

Ermey was doing his job as technical advisor, studying the a part of Sgt. Hartman whereas interviewing extras for the movie. They already employed one other actor for the half however Ermey had a plan to get the half. He acquired the job as technical advisor due to his different roles in Vietnam films. He taped the interviews he did as Hartman and Kubrick solid him after seeing these tapes.

Curiously sufficient, Ermey wrote the insults he hurled on the Marines within the movie. Kubrick by no means gave him enter on what a drill teacher would possibly say. He wrote 150 pages of insults.

4. Ermey is the one Marine to be promoted after retiring.

He rose to the rank of Employees Sergeant after spending 14 months in Vietnam and doing two excursions in Okinawa. He was medically retired for the accidents he obtained throughout his service. But it surely was in 2002, that Marine Corps Commandant James L. Jones promoted Ermey to E-7, Gunnery Sergeant, the rank he turned so well-known for. It was the primary and solely time the Corps has promoted a retiree.

5. He initially joined the Corps to remain out of jail – and nearly went Navy.

Within the previous days, becoming a member of the army was an possibility for at-risk youth and juvenile delinquents to keep away from actual jail time. Ermey was arrested twice as a teen. He admits to being a little bit of a hell-raiser. And he didn’t even know concerning the Marine Corps the day he determined to hitch.

“Mainly a silver-haired decide, a kindly previous decide, appeared down at me and stated ‘that is the second time I’ve seen you up right here and it seems like we’re going to must do one thing about this,’” Ermey instructed a gathering in 2010. He needed to hitch the Navy as a result of his father was within the Navy, however they rejected him on the grounds that he was a troublemaker.

Extra articles from We Are the Mighty:

7 ooh-rah ideas from the profession of R. Lee Ermey

5 classes we will all study from Marine Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley

A Inexperienced Beret was the inspiration for Col. Kurtz in ‘Apocalypse Now’

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