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R. Lee Ermey, Marine Corps Drill Instructor Turned Iconic Actor, Has Died
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.
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
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After 70 years, service members are finally filing medical malpractice claims against the US military
Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.
Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.
It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.
Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.
A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.
Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.
With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.