The firearms industry lost one of its biggest supporters this week. R. Lee Ermey aka “The Gunny” passed away from complications of pneumonia. Ermey, who portrayed Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film “Full Metal Jacket” became a Marine Corp icon following this role.
“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,” his manager, Bill Rogin, posted on Facebook. “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.”
Rogin went on quoting one of the famous lines from Full Metal Jacket, “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine” in describing Ermey. “There are many Gunny’s, but this one was OURS,” Rogin said. “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.”
According to the Marine Times, Ermey served in the Marine Corps from 1961 to 1972. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for one year prior to deploying in 1968 to Vietnam where he served 14 months. At the time of his severance, he held the rank of Staff Sergeant. In 2002, the-Commandant General James Jones awarded Ermey an honorary promotion to Gunnery Sergeant.
Landing his first film role in 1979’s “Apocalypse Now,” Ermey also served as a technical adviser to Francis Ford Coppola. He had a number of small roles before landing the role in “Full Metal Jacket.” He was nominated for a Golden Globe for the role of “The Gunny,” the drill instructor who yelled lines such as “What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn’t mommy and daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?” Ermey held over 60 film and television credits, including working as a voice actor in “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Family Guy.”
Ermey remained one of the few conservative voices in Hollywood. In 2010, he told one of the celebrity tabloids he was fired from a Geico commercial for saying President Obama would “impose socialism” on the U.S. He later apologized for the remarks.
A frequent face at the annual SHOT Show held in Las Vegas, NV, Ermey will be missed by many. Ooooooorah and Semper Fi, Gunny.