Al Matthews, Marine Vet And Actor Who Played Apone In ‘Aliens’ Dead At 75

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Al Matthews as Gunnery Sgt. Apone in "Aliens."
Aliens

Al Matthews, the actor best known for his role as the grizzled platoon sergeant Apone in the 1986 sci-fi blockbuster Aliens, died at age 75 in Alicante, Spain, El Pais reports.


Matthews, who retired to Spain in 2005 after a lengthy film and music career, was found dead in his home on Sunday, according to El Pais. An autopsy is underway to determine the cause of death.

A Marine Corps veteran, Matthews’ resume included roles in Superman III, Fifth Element, and Tomorrow Never Dies, as well as the 1975 hit song, Fool. But it’s his role as Gunnery Sgt. Apone, the stogie-smoking, hardass platoon sergeant in charge of the ill-fated Colonial Marines, that Matthews will forever be remembered for, especially among fans who’ve served in the military.

In interviews, Matthews said his time in the Corps, which reportedly included multiple tours in Vietnam, had prepared him for playing Apone — and it also apparently made him an asset on set.

“Everyone’s instinct is automatically to put their fingers on the trigger, and they stopped doing that on set with me,” Matthews said in Superior Firepower: The Making of Aliens, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the film. “That’s the way I was trained. Thank you very much America. If you put your finger on the trigger when you’re talking or waving your weapon around, I’m gonna jam it down your throat. I’m gonna do that.”

As Apone, Matthews’ salty swagger — from his knack for delivering lightning-quick ass-chewings, to his his hip-pocket classes and moto-speeches — brought a level of military authenticity to an otherwise over-the-top science fiction thriller.

“All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for?” Apone says as the Marines awaken from cryo sleep. “Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the Corps. A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet. Every paycheck a fortune. Every formation a parade. I love the Corps!"

And that wasn't just Apone talking. Matthews himself appeared to love the Corps — and remained a proud Marine till the end, bristling in one interview, when the host, Bailey Ritz, asked: “Did you come out of the Army a different person?”

To which Matthews replied: “I wasn’t in the Army. I was in the Marines, thank you very much.”

Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.

The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.

During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.

"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."

"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."

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Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.

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Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.

Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."

"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.

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Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."

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An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.

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