5 Unforgettable Quotes From R. Lee Ermey, The Iconic Marine-Turned-Actor Buried Today At Arlington

Mandatory Fun

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.


A Vietnam War veteran and former Marine drill instructor, Ermey leveraged his military experience to pursue a career as an actor and technical adviser, who racked up more than 60 film and television credits, while still making time to support active duty service members deployed overseas.

Though his onscreen roles included a few "kid friendly" performances like his green army man, Sarge, in Toy Story, it was Ermey's knack for cutting loose with a string of profanity that bordered on poetic that so perfectly captured the image of the hard-as-nails Marine Corps drill instructor. He had a unique ability to be both hilarious and intimidating, and it's one that will be sorely missed and remembered.

Here are five of R. Lee Ermey's greatest rants, speeches, and quotes.

On recruit training

Perhaps one of the most iconic boot camp scenes of all time, nearly every sound, syllable and word that came out of his mouth during the first half of Full Metal Jacket is a gem, which is pretty high praise, not just of Ermey's performance, but because he also wrote about half of his lines, notes Rolling Stone magazine. Here's just a snippet of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman's welcome aboard brief:

"If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that that day, you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grab-ass-tic pieces of amphibian shit!"

On discipline

Also from Full Metal Jacket, if you've stepped on the yellow footprints, you'll likely recall at least one drill instructor doing their best to mimic the legendary actor's colorful ass chewings, though none will ever be quite as good as this one:

"You little scumbag! I got your name! I got your ass! You will not laugh! You will not cry! You will learn by the numbers! I will teach you! Now get up! Get on your feet! You had best unfuck yourself, or I will unscrew your head and shit down your neck!"

On constructive criticism

In a 2010 advertisement for Geico, Ermey plays a therapist who gives some sage advice to his client.

"You know what makes me sad? You do! Maybe we should chug on over to namby-pamby land, where maybe we can find some self confidence for you, ya jackwagon!" Ermey says in the ad spot, before flinging a box of tissues at his client. Unorthodox, sure. Funny as hell? Also, yes.

Though Ermey's run as Geico's drill-sergeant-therapist was short-lived, allegedly owing to him being let go from the job after his public criticism of the Obama administration, it's possible that he may may have missed his calling in life.

On humor

During a History Channel special in 2001, Ermey discussed his time training Marine Corps recruits during the height of the Vietnam War. In the interview he shed light on a fundamental truth about Marine Corps recruit training: Your drill instructors are pretty much rage-filled stand-up comics.

"I'm a firm believer that the greatest instructors in the Marine Corps today and of yesteryear have always been just damn near stand-up comedians," he said in the segment.

And there's a lot of truth to this, just think about all the times you were told to do something totally bizarre, like hop across the squad bay saying "ribbit ribbit" because you decided to play around with the green cammie paint and the DI thought you looked like a frog. No? Okay, me either...

On motivation

Another observation Ermey made during that History Channel interview is that no matter what, drill instructors will find a way to motivate a nasty recruit to complete whatever task they've set before him or her.

"I could have a private who can do nine pull-ups and damn it, when I'm through talking to him, he can do 12. Why? Because I've intimidated this private so severely that I've convinced him that he can do 12 or he's going to die. That's why."

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Never Realized About 'Full Metal Jacket'

WATCH NEXT: Matthew Modine vs. Duffel Blog

It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.

Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.

The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland)

GREENBELT, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing a cache of weapons and plotting to attack Democratic politicians and journalists was ordered held for two weeks on Thursday while federal prosecutors consider charging him with more crimes.

Read More Show Less
An undated image of Hoda Muthana provided by her attorney, Hassan Shibly. (Associated Press)

Attorneys for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump asking the court to recognize the citizenship of an Alabama woman who left the U.S. to join ISIS and allow she and her young son to return to the United States.

Read More Show Less
U.S. soldiers surveil the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018. Picture taken November 1, 2018. (U.S. Army/Zoe Garbarino/Handout via Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will leave "a small peacekeeping group" of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.

Read More Show Less
Construction crews staged material needed for the Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement project near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Mani Albrecht)

With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a time-lapse video of wall construction in New Mexico; the next day, he proclaimed that "THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW"

But there's a big problem: The footage, which was filmed more than five months ago on Sep. 18, 2018, isn't really new wall construction at all, and certainly not part of the ongoing construction of "the wall" that Trump has been haggling with Congress over.

Read More Show Less