R. Lee Ermey, Marine Corps Drill Instructor Turned Iconic Actor, Has Died

Entertainment

R. Lee Ermey, the Marine Corps drill instructor who turned recruits into killing machines as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, has died.


He was 74.

Ermey's longtime agent, Bill Rogin, announced on Twitter on Sunday evening that the actor has passed due to "complications of pneumonia."

"Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket fame was a hard and principled man," Rogin told Task & Purpose in a statement. "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."

Ermey enlisted in the Corps in 1961 at the age of 17, providing support for Marine aviators before transitioning into a drill instructor role at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where he'd done his own recruit training.

After being medically discharged as an E-6 after in 1972 after a tour in Vietnam, Ermey reportedly struggled with his transition to civilian life.  In 1997, he told Entertainment Weekly he "bought a run-down bar and whorehouse" in Okinawa, Japan, but eventually moved on to the Philippines, where he landed his first film role as a 1st Air Cavalry pilot in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now.

Eight years later, Ermey was cast in Full Metal Jacket, using his experience as a drill instructor to improvise most of his lines. The rest, as they say, is history:

But Ermey's legacy extends far beyond his iconic roles. " He has meant so much to so many people," Rogin told Task & Purpose in a statement. "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."

"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,'" Rogin added. "There are many Gunny's, but this one was OURS."

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Keion Jackson).

The U.S. military will build 'facilities' to house at least 7,500 adult migrants, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to construct the facilities, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Chris Mitchell.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)

Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.

So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."

Read More Show Less

The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.

Read More Show Less

When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.

J.J., whose name was withheld by the U.S. Air Force for security reasons, earned his solo patch a few days after pilots No. 998 and No. 999. Those three pilots are in distinguished company, two fellow pilots said this month.

"We have a pretty small, elite team of folks. We're between about 60 and 70 active-duty pilots at any given time," Maj. Matt "Top" Nauman said during an Air Force event at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.

"We're about 1,050 [pilots] right now. So to put that in context, there are more people with Super Bowl rings than there are people with U-2 patches," Nauman added. "It's a pretty small group of people that we've hired over the last 60 to 65 years."

Read More Show Less
(DoD/Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.

"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.

"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."

Read More Show Less