Happy Birthday, Gunny!

Ermey during ceremony receiving drill instructor ribbon.

Hit the deck and give him 25!

Today marks the 68th birthday of everyone’s favorite “Motivational Marine,” R. Lee Ermey. He’s probably better known to his millions of fans simply as “Gunny,” for his remarkable performance as Senior Drill Instructor Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1987 Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket.

Born in 1944 in Emporia, Kansas, Ermey enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a drill instructor at the Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA and at Parris Island, SC until 1968. He served in Vietnam for 14 months with the Marine Wing Support Group 17 , then two tours in Okinawa, Japan, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) before being medically discharged in 1972 for injuries incurred. He was retroactively awarded the Drill Instructor Ribbon (due to his prior service) as well as the Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation for unit activities during the Vietnam War.

If he tells you to do something, you better do it!

Upon retirement from the Corps, Ermey began a second career as an actor, working in numerous movies and television programs (too many to list here). For his most famous role in Full Metal Jacket, Ermey was originally hired as the film’s technical consultant, but was soon given the role of “Senior Drill Instructor Hartman” by Kubrick after Ermey went on an extensive tirade demonstrating how REAL Marine drill instructors actually spoke and behaved during that period. His performance in the film was so superb it garnered him rave reviews and award nominations.

Now, after years of work in movies and various television series, Gunny shows little signs of slowing down. If you visit his website, you’ll see that fans can still purchase his famous “motivational Gunny” action figure, download various apps, request autographs, read recent “tweets,” etc. What an amazing man! In honor of Gunny’s birthday, take a look at him in his most famous role by watching THIS CLIP now. But remember parents…it’s R-rated. Oohrah!

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One thought on “Happy Birthday, Gunny!

  1. jose says:

    I became an Drill Sergeant in 2005 and I always remember his role in Full Metal Jacket. I memorized most of his lines, cleaned them up (today’s DoD is way too PC) and used his material myself.

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