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Remembering R. Lee Ermey – March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018



Gunny signing an autograph at Shot Show in 2009 | Image via

Former Marine, military acting icon, and stalwart supporter of the 2nd Amendment, R. Lee Ermey, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 74 due to complications from pneumonia. His longtime manager Bill Rogin posted a message yesterday on the actor’s Facebook page.


Ermey is best known for his breakout role in Full Metal Jacket. Impressively, he reportedly wrote 50% of his dialogue in the movie, including the unforgettable opening scene.

Also interesting is the fact that it’s a role he wasn’t supposed to get. In a 2009 interview about the film, Ermey, who was initially hired as a technical adviser for the film, says –

They had already hired another actor to play Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, but Marines don’t just say ‘Oh’ and give up. We continue to march and we attack until we achieve our goal, and we accomplish our mission.

Ermey has also shown that same attitude in helping to protect the 2nd Amendment. In an article he wrote in 2016 for Tactical Life Magazine, Ermey had this to say about gun rights

History shows the grim stories of many people in many lands who lost freedom. Sometimes, I’m proud to say, our U.S. armed forces helped them restore what was taken from them. Here in America we cannot afford to be daydreamers, taking freedoms like gun ownership for granted. Gun ownership is under so many attacks, on so many fronts, that we need gun owners and shooters who will do whatever they can reasonably do in the fight to preserve our Second Amendment rights. Join the NRA, oppose local politicians bent on destroying us, participate with shooting and hunting clubs, make sure you get to the polls at elections. It all counts when you stand up instead of doing what my Marines used to call, “Staying in the rear with the gear.”

Every time we have one of those horrific shootings of innocent people in this country, politicians begin circling like vultures. Even before the rest of us have gotten over the gut-wrenching horror of thinking about the victims, the politicos of every rank move in to see what they can get out of the event. What they really want are votes. To get those, they promise to “do something.” That relates to more laws.

Why not enforce the laws that are on the books now? They don’t want to talk about that. A frequent cry is for more background checks. At the NRA, we have supported background checks all along. (Not that you would ever hear about it from the media.) Bring ’em on. We don’t want guns in the hands of criminals or lunatics. But because these checks are government operations, mistakes are made. Then the cry becomes, “Ban all guns!” And around and around we go.

In 2013, Ermey released a part self-help, part-autobiographical work entitled Gunny’s Rules – How To Get Squared Away Like A Marine. His powerful voice throughout the book is a testament to how passionate he was about his acting roles and gun rights advocacy.

Ermey will also be remembered for his unmistakable voicing of the character Sarge in Toy Story –

RIP, Sargeant.


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