According to the Marine Times, he left the Marine Corps as a staff sergeant, and later received an honorary promotion to gunnery sergeant from then-Commandant Gen. James Jones in 2002.
His military career earned him several awards, including the National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Meritorious Unit Commendation and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Lee Ermey, who was best known for playing the terrifying gunnery sergeant in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket", has passed away at age 74 from complications of pneumonia.
Ermey's representatives announced his death after a bout of pneumonia on Twitter. "He will be greatly missed by all of us", the statement reads. "Semper Fi, Gunny. #RIPGunny", while another fan added: "You know your life sucks when you hear that @RLeeErmey has died and you have no one to share the news with or 'remember when....' with". He was generous to everyone around him.
His other acting credits include Mississippi Burning, Dead Man Walking, and two The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies among the 60 films he appeared in. And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Kubrick was impressed with Ermey, allowing him to make up his own dialogue on the set. He chose the Marine Corps. and served as a drill instructor in San Diego in the mid 1960s. Please support your men and women in uniform.
But he was most famous for the epic rants delivered in Full Metal Jacket, including an opening monologue that is one of the most foul-mouthed tirades committed to film. He also hosted "Mail Call" (2002-2009) on The History Channel where he would answer letters from viewers about weapons, tactics, equipment and military terminology. That's what he wanted most of all. After that, he served as a technical advisor on Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, and had an uncredited role in the film.
The part he would become most well-known for, in Full Metal Jacket, wasn't even originally his. The actor starred in TV shows and more recently did voice work in commercials and video games.
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