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I met the Gunny a few times at SHOT. If it wasn’t at the GLOCK booth where he was signing autographs, mugging for the cameras and making people laugh who had waited an hour or more for the privilege of saying hello and shaking his hand, he was at the GLOCK range day location, glad-handing media types while he protected his hearing with a .45 cartridge stuffed into each ear.

He was always avuncular, entertaining, funny and, from the few words I exchanged with him now and again, seemed to be a genuinely good human being. Very much the man we’ve seen in commercials, promo videos, on Mail Call (and quite probably during the first half of Full Metal Jacket, too).

R. Lee Ermey RIP

Unfortunately, the sad news comes tonight via his Facebook page, that the Gunny’s tour of duty has come to an end. Here’s the statement issued by his manager:

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. It is a terrible loss that nobody was prepared for. He has meant so much to so many people. And, it is extremely difficult to truly quantify all of the great things this man has selflessly done for, and on behalf of, our many men and women in uniform. He has also contributed many iconic and indelible characters on film that will live on forever. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket fame was a hard and principled man. The real R. Lee Ermey was a family man, and a kind and gentle soul. He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need.

There is a quote made famous in Full Metal Jacket. It’s actually the Riflemen’s Creed. “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.”

There are many Gunny’s, but this one was OURS. And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all.

Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.

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    • Never was sure what the guy would really be like, but meeting him at SHOT, he was a gentleman, tough guy, a performer, a diehard gun enthusiast, a comedian, and moment in time we will all treasure. He was also taller than he looked.

      • Gotta add a quick Gunny story. At SHOT a couple years ago, there was a line at the Glock booth to meet him and get a selfie or two. There was this quite heavyset woman with short spiked pink hair, rather loud, in fact, and she was driving around in one of those three wheeled motorized chairs covered with bling and stuffed animals (I know so of you must know who I’m talking about). Anyway, this woman was obviously at the fringes of what many gun-types have tolerance for upon first impression. Gunny just embraced her like his sister and joked and poked fun and took lots of pictures. Of course everyone inside SHOT has been vetted, but there were more than a few SHOT Show celebrities that I know would have played it cool and distant with a short, heavy, pink-haired masculine woman. Not Gunny. He was at his Hollywood best. Priceless!

        • Seriously? Now?

          Besides his Golden Globe nomination for FMJ, Ermey was in Apocalypse Now, The Boys in Company C, Mississippi Burning, Prefontaine, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Fletch Lives, Se7en, Toy Story, Rocket Power, House, and SpongeBob SquarePants, Leaving Los Vegas, The X-Files, The Simpsons, Body Snatchers, Naked Gun, Buzz Lightyear, Family Guy, Jericho, Starship Troopers, Dead Man Walking, Kung Fu Panda, Law and Order, X-Men and dozens of others. The guy even worked alongside Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong).

          Gunny hocked for the likes of Tupperware, Hoover vacuums, WD-40, and even, yes, Dick’s Sporting Goods.

          Don’t let your personal issues cloud reality. Unless, perhaps you are thinking of someone else?

        • Flinch: What?

          I only meant, from what I’ve read of the man, he sounds like a genuinely good guy, not a facade and not a hypocrite, which Hollywood seems to full of these days. Your story is in accord with that view.

          What did you think I meant? And, personal issues? Where’d that come from?

        • Oh, I get it. I thought you were trying to separate him from the so-called Hollywood Elite that everyone badmouths. Yet he was deep into that scene since much of Hollywood is a cross-section of everything when that is a convenient truth or not. just ask Clint Eastwood.

          So had you gone down that train of thought I mistook your reply for, then I was trying to point out that Gunny was deeply involved in all kinds of things beyond those exceedingly pro-gun/military movies and endorsements. Ermey was a well-rounded guy known for many things all dependent on what circles his fans run in.

        • We can pretty much distance him from Hollywood…he has said himself in recent years that Hollywood was blackballing him after his less-than-supportive comments made about our former POTUS. I believe he said it had been close to seven years since he had even been asked to read for a part.

      • should have won best supporting actor oscar for that role. got hosed. Golden Globe is fine, but not even nominated for an oscar. Way better than Michael Cain that year. I suppose he was overlooked because the elites figured he was not really “acting”. still, standout performance that most folks still quote and love despite Cain’s forgettable movie. “Hannah and her sisters”, really? way better than Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe that year. Platoon was pretty political so I suppose they got favorable treatment. GI’s raping village girls was front and center, committing fratricide, wasting villagers…pretty much the left’s trifecta for depicting Vietnam.

      • I was just going to post a retraction and looks like you ran across the same info about the site I posted as being a fake site. My bad.

        With that said and after searching various news sites. RIP R. Lee Ermey.

  1. The Gunny was one of those people you believed would live long after you. It is a shock to find him gone so soon.

    “And when he goes to heaven/
    To Saint Peter he will tell:/
    Another Marine reporting, sir;/
    I’ve served my time in hell!”

    The attribtuion is unknown but it was an epitaph for a certain PFC Cameron, who died at Guadalcanal, 1942.

  2. Never met the man, but I have a cousin who is a Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Edgar was a Gunnery Sergeant and D.I. He assured me that the first half of Full Metal Jacket was accurate. From a U.S. Army paratrooper to Gunnery Sergeant Ermey; Arch Angels Michael and Gideon await your arrival. I expect you will take command. Semper Fi!

    • I was a squid; supply clerk on an aircraft carrier. But that boot camp half of the movie sure reminded me of boot camp. Everyone I’ve met who went through boot camp and saw that movie said the same thing. Got the spirit down pat.

  3. Great fellow! I never experienced his presence. However, I was privileged to meet ELMER KEITH at the NRA convention in New Orleans, 1970. Another icon gone to history.

    • You met Elmer Keith? Lucky man! I was 11 in 1970, but I cut my teeth reading Keith, Skeeter Skelton, Bill Jordan, Jeff Cooper, etc. Never got to meet any of them except Lt. Col. Cooper. I have most of his books autographed on my shelf. I’m sure Ermey and Cooper would have gotten along well. Not much difference between a salty Marine Lt. Col. And an equally salty Gunnery Sergeant, except rank. Those differences usually fall away over a late night bourbon.

  4. I do hope its a hoax

    The best compliment that I could give some is that they were genuine. Gunny was (is) that and more. What you see of him was real, on screen and in person.

    • I just looked at the Ermy faceplant account. You would think enough time has elapsed that Ermy or his publicist would put out a correction, by now.

  5. Somebody tell us the truth. A little proof would be nice. Obituary, denial by the family, or the man himself. This internet stuff is a load of bullshit!

  6. There is an important lesson in this: get your senior shots. That includes both pneumonia vaccinations, and the hep A/B series. Medicare covers at least one of those. A new much-more-effective shingles vaccination is now available.

  7. God speed and thanks for fighting the good fight. You will honorably be guarding the streets of heaven now.

  8. That’s very sad to hear. When he applied for the role on FMJ, Kubrick was not impressed. So he had the bright idea of having people throw (oranges i think) at him while he improvised, screaming curses and commands at them for like 10 or 20 minutes straight. It won him over. Most of his script was improvised, too. He really was a great guy.

  9. This hit me harder than the deaths of people I knew personally. Weird, huh?

    I’m gonna go replace the filter in my air conditioning, because this one seems to be letting some dust through.

  10. One of the few Right Wingers that was able to entertain both the Far Right and Far left. Far Right Fanatics loved him because of his weapon worshiping and and attitude that his military never did anything wrong and always had the best equipment while Far left people watched the show to laugh at his outrageous antics and ask themselves constantly “Is this guy as nuts in real life as he is on camera or is he just a great entertaining actor”? I think the truth was he was a little of both. The sad fact is there is no one ever to replace him.

  11. Roll call!

    Ronald Ermey!

    Staff Sergeant Ronald E. Ermey!

    Staff Sergeant Ermey is not present sir.

    See you at the Gate, Marine. Rest easy.

    • Your comment made me sick. Even my eyes started sweating. Thank you for posting.

    • Very fitting for a Marine to get the traditional Roll call, thank you for posting. Semper Fi!

  12. Whatever divine entity may be out there must have needed someone to help insure the heavens kept spinning along according to the Plan.

    Rest easy, Sir.

  13. My son will be sad. When he was 1 he would climb on to my lap to watch “Lock’n’Load”. He loved the gunfire and explosions. It is how he learned about guns and he has had an interest ever since.

    Gunny, Col Cooper, and Elmer Keith probably have a lot to discuss.

    • I told my son. And he was sad. He even admitted “The Gunny” is what got him interested in firearms and military history. He now wants to re-watch the shows he saw so long ago.

  14. He’ll have Jesus out of that long hair hippie haircut and in a proper high and tight and heaven operating like a well oiled machine by revele tomorrow morning.

  15. RIP R. Lee Ermey. You are America’s Gunny and will always have a place of honor and respect in our thoughts!

  16. Talk about a full and wide ranging life. From a young guy given the choice of jail or the Marines. To a near 40 year career as a supporting actor. To board member of the NRA. He packed a lot in 74 years. He is the last of the old school breed. Well, Eastwood might the last. Ermey touched many hearts and minds and will truly be missed.

  17. Wherever he is, I hope R. Lee is resting easy…no drill, no inspections, double rations, free club card and liberty call whenever he wants it. I’m confident that whenever he meets Chesty Puller and Lew Walt there, they will have some interesting sea stories to tell each other, although they may give R. Lee some good-natured shit for being an air winger. He was only 74 – rather early to be taking his pack off – he was only a few years older than me. I went to see Full Metal Jacket because it portrayed 2nd Bn, 5th Marines in Hue City, and I was in that battalion in Hue during the battle. I also wanted to see the movie because I’d been a Drill Instructor and wanted to see if they’d allow that role to be portrayed accurately. The Gunny certainly did that – I heard that the director allowed him to write most of his own dialogue! There were a few inaccuracies – it was Hollywood, after all – but pretty good. After R. Lee’s DI was killed, the second half of the movie was so inaccurate that I got pissed off and walked out. Anyway, the Gunny did a great deal to publicize the Corps and was also a great gun guy – we’ve lost a great American and a great Marine. A double Marine Corps punch in his honor!

  18. Rest in honored peace Tuefelhund Brother, till Valhalla.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  19. Gunny reminded me of the drill sgt.I had. Makes me chuckle now. Back then, not so funny with a screaming drill sgt. in your face. They taught us to be warriors. R.I.P. Gunny and God bless all our warriors.

  20. Quick story he told…the ending of Saving Silverman has Gunny kissing on the lips Jack Black. Before the scene Gunny took Black aside. Told Black if he stuck his tongue in his mouth he would kick his ass. Black got the message. Lol …RIP

  21. I met Gunny when he flew with my son’s unit after they deployed to Afghanistan never met a more likable gentleman and fellow Marine.

  22. If the Army and the Navy
    Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
    They will see the streets are
    Guarded there
    By United States Marines!

    Semper Fi Gunny!

  23. For many years
    This Marine has stood the watch

    While some of us lay about our bunks at night
    This Marine stood the watch

    While others of us were attending schools
    This Marine stood the watch

    And, yes, even before many of us were born,
    This Marine stood the watch

    As our families watched the storm clouds of war brewing on the horizons of history
    He stood the watch

    This Marine looked ashore and saw his family often needing guidance
    but he knew that he must stay because he had the watch.

    For many years he stood the watch so that
    Our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly, in safety,
    Knowing that this Marine would stand the watch

    Today we are here to say
    The watch stands relieved
    Relieved by those you have led, guided, and trained.

    Gunnery Sergeant , you stand relieved.
    We have the watch.

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