Big Screen Gunny visits the 1st FSSG in Kuwaiti Desert

28 May 2003 | Cpl. Jeremy M. Vought 1st Marine Logistics Group

The Marine Corps' Hollywood gunnery sergeant, R. Lee Ermey, the notorious face every recruit pictures from his unforgettable senior drill instructor role in the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket, took a special trip to northern Kuwait May 25 to meet with the Marines of the 1st Force Service Support Group and tape segments of the History Channel show "Mail Call" which he hosts.

His plans were set - to talk and motivate the troops that as he says "have been forgotten since the war was won."

"Nobody else seems to be bothering. These kids are out here in the middle of nowhere in this big windy sand box, they've got no entertainment," Ermey said. "It's a tough war," he said.

His first stop while aboard the camp was at the 1st FSSG's postal center where countless amounts of mail are processed and distributed to the Marines each day. Before and after each taping Ermey made sure to talk with the Marines, take pictures and sign autographs for the troops.

"Well guys we're happy we could be here and we hope to brighten your day," shouted Ermey, which was then followed by his legendary drill instructor speech from "Full Metal Jacket".

During his visit, he made an appearance at a group of military policemen where he made sure no one left with out an autograph while stressing to the troops to not let Hollywood influence their attitudes.

"My job in Hollywood, as I see it, is looking after you guys in uniform," he said. "The one thing I hate is people (messing) with the troops motivation."

One question many Marines ask Ermey is how long has he been retired, he said.

"My answer is I really never have retired. I'm probably just as active today with the military especially with the Marine Corps as I ever have been," said the first Marine to be promoted after retirement. Ermey, who retired a staff sergeant from the Marine Corps in 1972, was recently promoted to the rank of gunnery sergeant by the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones.

"At this I figure I'll make sergeant major by the time I'm 140," Ermey said.

He then took to Camp Iwo Jima, where he taped a segment of his show on Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Marines and their equipment where he was met by over a hundred Marines anxious to meet the Marine's Marine.

"This is good for me and it's just as good for me as it is for these Marines who are out here doing service for their country, they are all patriot hard charging devil dogs," he said.

"I have the utmost respect for these Marines out here doing what they do for our country."
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