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The Gunny Tribute Special: Remembering R. Lee Ermey

The Gunny Tribute Special: Remembering R. Lee Ermey

(dramatic music)
– He was more proud to be a Marine
than he was to be an actor. – He was so alive
in what he did. And he cared about what he did. There was just something very
special about R. Lee Ermey. – Between his characters
that he plays in the movies and the real life Gunny,
worlds apart. He’s a giant teddy bear. If I were to describe my
Grandpa, I think he was really loving and really caring. He was definetly always the
life of the party. He was a
really funny guy and always made everybody laugh. He was compasonite and caring. Using his celebrity status to
spread awareness and make a difference in the lives of veterns. -No one seems to want
to take care of the veterns except for the veterns. The
people in America think that the government
takes care of us. – Gunny would say the
first person to step up to help a veteran is
gonna be another veteran, and he’s and example of that. He was as authentic
as he appeared. – Full Metal Jacket probably
led me to join the Marine Corps. Obviously the best-lookin’
uniforms of all the services in my opinion. – He makes you wanna
be on that next level of mannerisms and respect. He was funny, he had so many
stories to tell, I just… It was humbling for me. – I learned more from that guy
than anybody will ever know. He wanted to be doing
this and never retire. – He treated his fans like
they were just friends that he had not met yet. And the things
that the Gunny did, to really make a difference
in every single community that we went to, it’s priceless. (dramatic music)
– Today, we’re paying special tribute
to our good friend and mentor, the one, the only, Gunnery
Sergeant R. Lee Ermey. Best known to fans around
the world as the Gunny, Gunny left us all too
abruptly, and way too early, during our ongoing mission
here at Military Makeover. You know, after every
scene that we would shoot, at the end of every day that
we worked on a home makeover, Gunny would look around
and say, “What’s next?” Now for him, it
really wasn’t about the next shot or
even the next day. He was asking about
our next makeover, our next mission for
another deserving veteran, because he thought of
them as his veterans, every single one of them. Gunny had a mission. When he stepped in
front of our cameras for Military Makeover,
it was to shine a light on the service, sacrifice,
and the needs of all who served in the military. So join us, as we honor
the memory of our friend, Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey,
United States Marine Corps, Retired. The Gunny. (dramatic music)
(piano music) – Ron was trouble from
the very beginning. He was, I would just say
he was a hell raiser. You know, no really bad damage,
maybe some little mischievous things
like drinkin’ when he was 15, 16 years old, and
a little vandalism at the school,
wrecking a neighbor’s truck when he didn’t have
a driver’s license, and finally ended up goin’
into a detention center, into the juvenile court. After the judge looks
through all his record, he said, “You know, the
way I see this, Mr. Ermey, “you only really have
a couple of choices. “You, your parents, your
dad doesn’t want you back “’cause you’re a troublemaker,
“and you can’t seem to resolve that. “So you’re gonna either go into
“detention center, juvenile hall. “Your other alternative is that
“you could go into the military. At the Yakima Courthouse
there were two recruiters, Navy and Marines. He went to the Navy and
he told them the story and the Nay said,
“You know what, “we have no use for
you in the Navy.” So he went next
door to the Marines and the Marines said,
“Yup, we got our man. “We’ll straighten you out.” – [Narrator] So, in 1961,
a 17-year old R. Lee Ermey, compelled by a judge’s order,
enlisted in the Marine Corps. In the Marines, Lee
found his true calling and entered the military
family he would never leave. By 1965 he was a
drill instructor preparing other young
Marines for war. Remarkably, living and loving
the role that would shape his future. Sent to Vietnam, he
and his fellow Marines were on the front lines
and experienced the overwhelming brutality of the war. It was shrapnel
from an enemy rocket that ended his dream of a
long career in the Corps. Actually, he would
never truly leave. Once a Marine, always a Marine. – For him, the military
probably saved his life. And that’s why it
meant so much to him. – [Narrator] As Stanley Kubrick
and the rest of the world were to discover,
R. Lee Ermey now brought a force that could not be denied
to his new passion, acting. – What did our family think
about my brother’s acting career? My mom was really quite proud,
but my dad, uh, he wasn’t so happy about it. My brother was in
Clinton, Illinois when he got the big offer
from Stanley Kubrick. I remember him calling me
and he was so excited for this movie
called Full Metal Jacket. If you fast forward,
Warner Brothers was gonna introduce the movie
and they found out that my parents
had never seen the movie. So, my dad’s
calling me, he says, “You’re not gonna believe this,
“but a limo picked us up, took us to Seattle
“to this theater, and we walk in,”
and he said, “There’s nobody there.” He said, “That’s when I was told
“that it was a private viewing, “for just your mom and I.” He said, “That’s
where I realized that your brother’s doing okay.” (piano music)
– I was working as a waitress at the restaurant in Manila. Lee was going to school,
and he came in on my 20th birthday. I notice him because
he was nice to two little boys that were playing
in the restaurant. He came back with an apple
and a necklace for my birthday, and after that he
came to the restaurant every day to see me. This necklace remind me of him. To be Mrs. Gunny is hard,
because I am a shy person (laughs). But I am also proud to be
Mrs. Gunny. – People have often asked me
if growing up with my dad was like Lee Ermey boot camp. He tried to be a disciplinarian,
but, you know, after every harsh word
there was ice cream. He was full of contradictions. He was the toughest guy,
but the softest guy. Hard, but kind. Eccentric. Patriotic. – He made every day
into an adventure even if it was just
going to the store to pick up some milk. We would go on family car rides
which would be hours and hours and he would sing, but it always
the same cassette tape, over and over again. It was really bad,
but he loved to sing. – Hey yo Gunny,
what’s the sit rap? – Said rap? Its SITREP. – Sitrap. – SITREP, not sit rap. It’s, gah, SITREP, SITREP,
not sit rap. (rap music) � Yo, Gunny, yo �
� Yo, Gunny, yo � � It’s the sit rap �
– SITREP, not rap. � Right on time �
� Right on time. �
� Misguided pilgrim � � Mad cap �
� Mad cap, mad cap � (rap music)
– Gunny, Gunny, Gunny, hey, you alright? You zoned out on me
there for a minute. – You’re making me crazy. – My father loved comedy. He actually had done
standup on Sunset Strip back in the 70s just to
make a little extra money to help pay the rent,
because he was a struggling actor at the time. – The Gunny enjoyed
playing a lot of different roles as an actor,
but most of all, he liked comedy,
he loved comedy. And if you talk to him
about Full Metal Jacket he would say that his role
was somewhat of a comedy. – All these different
roles that he played, one of them, his
absolute favorite, was Fletch Lives,
when he played the Reverend Jimmy Lee Farnsworth. And he said, “Jack, I
always wanted to play “the sleazeball minister,
“and now I get to do it.” And it was great. – This is The Gunny
saying at ease. Come on Art, that’s attention. – Oh, sorry. – What is it, take 20? – No, I thought that that …
– How many (beep). – I’m trying, okay? – You’d never make
it in the Marines. – I am trying. (dramatic music)
– You know, Art and I feel so privileged
to be the hosts of Military Makeover. What an honor. – And it’s really important
to the Gunny and I that we present
Military Makeover to you, the viewer,
in a light-hearted and entertaining manner. – But we all know who the
real stars of the show are. America’s men and women
of the armed forces. Those who have willingly gone
into harm’s way on our behalf. We must never forget the
sacrifices that they’ve made. – And the reward of a hug,
a simple thanks for your service,
or hey, what the heck. Take care of their
tab at a restaurant. We should always remain
a grateful nation. – Good job, Art. Semper Fi. – I remember when
they first told us that this guy R. Lee Ermey
was gonna be co-hosting Military Makeover. I was like oh, wow, okay. And I looked him
up and I was like, oh no, that guy! You know, from
Full Metal Jacket. And I was like I’m dead. I mean, this guy’s gonna
just tear me to pieces. – Art! – Hey Gunny, I just finished
sweeping the garage like you told me to. – That’s a beautiful thing. Me and the boys are
heading on out now, so with us out of the way
you can have this place spic and span
by the time we get back in the morning. What do you think? – I, I thought we were
going to dinner together. – Art, you thought wrong. Why don’t you do
something useful? Throw us to commercial. – I guess Military Makeover
will be right back after this. – Bringing Gunny to the show was
a beautiful accident. One of our associate
producers was in my office, and had a magazine ad,
and it was around hiring heroes. And in the ad was Gunny. I looked at her and I said
he would be the best host. – When I found out he
was doing the show, I had to go back and
watch Full Metal Jacket, Mississippi Burning,
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Seven, the voice of
Sarge in Toy Story. But he also knew
why he was there. He was there to
represent the veterans and why we were doing this. – With all due respect,
we all, all of us, need to pitch in where we can,
and that includes you. – The Gunny was the
anchor of the show. He was the perfect fit. He just personified
Military Makeover, and once we had the anchor,
everything else around him fell into place. – I’m Gunnery
Sargent R. Lee Ermey, join me and a platoon of
dedicated professionals for another Military Makeover. Okay boys, I want to
hear hammers hammering, saws sawing. (whirring)
(laughs) Oh yeah. – How are you? – Nervous. Excited. We had nothing. Literally nothing,
and come on honey, help out here. – [Gunny] Wow. So we’ve
been really busy, okay. Your gonna love the kitchen. – From not having even
tile in our bedroom to just everything they did. I mean just getting
a bedroom set or a dining set
that we didn’t have, that meant a lot to me
because my family had a place to eat. That really did
impact us or helped, and it gave me hope. – Deep in his heart he was
thoroughly on a mission to be motivator in chief
to get everybody excited about how to take care
of our veterans, how to give back to them. And just spreading that message
to everyone around him. (military rhythm on drums)
– I would call you people to attention,
but there is no question in my military mind
you wouldn’t know how to go to attention
if I asked you too. You’re not good
at military stuff, but I tell you one thing
I know you are good at. And that is the deck. You call it flooring,
I call it decking. Now, inside this house
you will find 1,000 square feet of deck. You have got about 20
minutes to get in that house and get this done. You got it, go! Make it happen. – Ultimately, I know the
one thing I can offer is giving these veterans a home
that will help them have a new beginning. – White, I come
through the damn door, what do I see Jen? I see white. Everything is white. What are you gonna
do about that? – Isn’t white a color? (laughs)
– [Gunny] White. – I know. – White is a non-color. – I know, but I’m
gonna add the soul, it’s gonna be amazing,
I promise. Trust me. Oh my gosh, working
with the Gunny is absolutely amazing
because, think about it, he’s a film icon. And I know he really believes
in doing this for the veterans, and I know he probably
hates my design style. – White doesn’t work. We gotta go something
about that, okay. Jennifer comes in, and by
the time she gets finished it looks like home, not
just a house, but a home. I can’t call this a job. It’s a habit that I have. But it’s a fun habit,
and it’s helps my veterans. And anything that helps
the veterans I’m game for. That’s the way it is. It’s beautiful. – You know, everything
was Semper Fi. Everything was, you
know, always faithful, that’s who Gunny is. That’s who Gunny, like
his personality is. He’s faithful,
especially to veterans and military. – I always wanted one of
these babies for my pasture. That’d look good out
there in my pasture. Now, now we’re talking. Tank. – Tanks. – This is a big old tank,
one of the first ones made. That’s a big sardine can. Now, you were
flying helicopters. You know, Extortion 17. Are you okay, do you feel good
about talking about it to me? – Absolutely. – Okay. – Yes. – Would you mind telling
me what happened, what’s going on? – Well, I was a Chinook guy. My crash was Extortion 17. My chopper went
down June 25, 2011. The second Extortion 17 crash
was carrying members of Seal Team 6
on board, and uh, all 31 were killed. – Oh. – Yeah, it’s uh… – That, that’s bad. – It’s tough to be in the
same sentence as that, because I’m still
here, you know. So, having two crashes
of Extortion 17, it’s tough to deal
with every day. He was very careful of his words
about how sensitive that subject is. Of course I wanna
to talk about it because I want those men
never to be forgotten. And so, it was a proud moment
to talk about the fallen soldiers,
and be on the same basis as the Gunny was. – The Gunny had a
way of making sure that he never lost
track of the veterans. For me to manage him,
I had to be aware immediately, that
military comes first. – He always wanted to try
to help the Marines, or veterans. That was his family. They were all brothers. – You know, as I travel
across this country I do find one idea that
binds us all together. We all support, and
are inspired by, the great folks who
dedicated their lives to our security and safety. Protecting us, running
toward the danger when there’s an emergency. You gotta admire those guys. – You can tell he’s genuine
with everything that he feels and does. He’s not doing it for publicity
or to be in the spotlight, he truly has a huge heart
and just wanted to help veterans. The world needs a few
more people like that. – The last time that Lee came
into Bravery Brewing Company, he was not feeling well. Some Marines were coming up
from about two hours away, sure enough he showed up
and those dozen or so Marines that were there,
he made their day. And he stayed with them. He took pictures,
signed autographs. That’s the kind of guy he was. He gave so much time
and so much love to his Marines. – Military service and
standing in defense of our country is a big deal. Our military and all
of our first responders are a big deal. We need to be there for them
and support them in any way we can. (hard rock music)
– Gunny, it looks like we did it. Another Military
Makeover in the books. – Everybody’s happy. The tears that you
see are tears of joy, not of sadness. You know what I always
say, give a veteran a hug, take that veteran
to dinner tonight. – Gunny, I’m gonna
take you to dinner, but I’m not giving a hug. – Oh, come on. (laughing)
– An American hero has left the scene
leaving a void that won’t be filled. You know, for five years,
we produced this show Military Makeover. And we found it
rewarding and inspiring. And we’re so fortunate
to be able to help incredibly deserving
veterans and their families. Our passion and commitment
would not burn so brightly if it wasn’t for the
example and guidance of our dear friend, R.
Lee Ermey, the Gunny. When we started it,
it was a good idea. It’s now a true passion,
and a mission that isn’t over. Gunny may have left us,
but you know what, I can still hear his voice
like he’s standing right next to me saying,
“Art, when’s the next one?” The Military Makeover
mission continues. We’re on it, Gunny. (poignant piano music)
– Semper Fi, take care.

Reader Comments

  1. July24, 2019 and I'm just now seeing this wonderful video honoring our favorite Marine. Excellent, most excellent. We loved him and will never forget him. Watching this tribute, for those of us who knew him only on the screen nonetheless loved him and we cry because we felt he was OUR buddy. Tha Gunney will live forver in our hearts and as some have said, tha Gunny is only missing in action on this Earth but he's alive and well in Heaven, training our Angels and reporting to GOD and Jesus with an accounting of his Angel Marines progress.

  2. Gunny : goes to hell *
    Gunny : squints maggot

    Gunny: * goes to heaven *
    God : wtf
    Gunny : Attention
    God : i i drill instructor

  3. R Lee truly will be missed. God bless all my brothers and sisters in arms the ones that came before and the ones that will be after. God bless you all

  4. Gunny you being decommissioned from Earth but now your being drafted into heaven. Oorah gunn! Simplify.!
    give them hell in the afterlife!

  5. I remember watching Mail Call back in the day, and I never forgot, never will forget him. Keep in mind this was before I saw FMJ, and ironically I'm considering working my ass off for joining the USMC. Gunny I'm sad I couldn't meet you, but I'm glad you could be an inspiration to me, and many others.

  6. Thank you for your service and your dedication to making this world a better place!! RIP Gunny you inspired me to want to become a marine!

  7. "FMJ" was not his first movie. He played a Huey pilot in "Apocalypse Now" and an LRRP sergeant in "The Siege to Firebase Gloria""

  8. Sad that he has left us here on Earth.
    Proud that he is now A SENIOR STAFF NCO , in heaven.

  9. And Obama and his Hollywood liberal elites blocked him from work for speaking his Marine values and Conservative values. Therefore, we should all sh*t on Hollywood and their unwanted political views especially from limousine liberals

  10. How much do we miss Gunny, please take the time to view and remember this remarkable Marine with a heart of gold, this man touched many of soul's

    Rest in Peace!


  11. I might just be a twelve-year-old kid but I really care for our veterans military and law enforcement and Emergency Services I hope when I get old enough I'll be able to join the military and or law enforcement God bless all veterans God bless everyone who protects us God bless Robert Lee Army God Bless America.

  12. Hooah, Oorah, & Hooyah…..Gunny. It's a shame we have no more leaders for this great nation. One who can unite and galvanizes us all.

  13. I just stood in my kitchen and watched the whole of this, tears in my eyes, oven on ready for it to warm up but turned it off to not miss any of this awesome tribute. As a former British soldier I respected, admired and loved The Gunny even though I’d never met him or thought I ever would, that didn’t matter. From his movie appearances to Mail Call to this he should always be remembered firstly as a respected Marine but also as a humanitarian who’s love of the military superseded all.

  14. Gunnery Sergeant R.Lee Ermey , i hadn't known that you had left us ? I always watch your YouTube episodes . Even tho sir i am not an American Marine, yes i served my duty time in the Australian Army .
    You will be sorely missed . And in the morning we will remember you , LEST WE FORGET.

  15. this guy was 100% real and he will be missed…..A REAL and supercool guy…Semper Fi forever…… pejus letho flagitium

  16. It really annoying that a lot of Presidents were Army or Navy Veterans. If a Marine Veteran became POTUS, Venezuela and Cuba would be Capitalists again, Iran would be scared shitless and the border wall would have towers with machine guns on it.

  17. R.I.P Gunny stand fast we have the watch return to your quaters while we stand your ground because we have the watch.

  18. Go ahead and rest sir you’ve done your Time devil dog go and drill the angels to spend your time. Rest In Peace

  19. Full Metal Jacket mentioned over and over again and no mention of Boys of Company C. For a Marine, Boys of Company C was the movie that introduced us to the Gunny.

  20. Gunny will be missed but he will live on forever in not only the films, shows, and games he did but in the hearts of every military man and woman past and present, for the inspiration he gave them through his work, and his kindness that was seen by them. R.I.P. Gunny Ermey

  21. 4:30 … did i miss something? I’ve never seen him wear either a purple heart nor a combat action ribbon. Any one have any details?

  22. I remember every Saturday I would wake up and my dad and I would watch him on the Military Channel.

    RIP Gunny, you were the greatest of all time and you inspired me to pursue a career in the military after I graduate college this year. You will never be forgotten

  23. God Bless you R. Lee Ermey. You have inspired so many people. Always loved you dedication, your inspiration and your humor. No one can fill your shoes no matter how hard they try.

  24. THANK YOU for posting this….I miss the GUNNY!!! May God Bless His Family!!!! Semper Fi!!! from this former Marine!!!

  25. From a gunnery expert :
    For his bravery , his guts , and his impact against the movie industry ,I give him the respect that anyone should have for a military legend

  26. Rest in peace Gunny,you were a good man,an angel for so many who had the pleasure to have their lives by you,thanks for everything Gunny,much love from Portugal.

  27. I wipe my eyes as I write this. The absolute joy and unprecedented entertainment this gentleman added to our lives is immeasurable. I will miss this man. Go easy bro….and know by these great comments here that you were very loved, admired, and highly thought of by millions. RIP Gunny….

  28. One of my best friends grandfather told me that in the marines Semper Fi means "Hooray for me and screw you"

  29. I'm a Marine Vet and I watched Full Metal Jacket in the 80's as a kid and loved it. I became a Marine in 96 and that was some of the best years of my life. Thank You R. Lee Ermey for your service and you will be missed. Lastly I would like to say FU Hollywood for black listing Ermey. Hollywood is the most despicable and stupidest people on the planet.

  30. Fun Fact,,,, before shrapnel hit Ermey,, he was doing escort for High Eschelon Officers in certain cities in Vietnam,,, after all that , stateside, then doing D. I. in the Marines, the rest is historical,, OohRah

  31. i loved full metal jacket i knew every line of his in that movie ive must have seen that movie 100 times when i was a kid .i was raised by my grandfather who was a marine fought in guam tinnian siapan and iwo jima .i was lucky to have him for the first 18 years of my life i do believe that movie helped me get through his death. RIP Gunny

  32. "We're gonna refortify this shit hole and then we're gonna protect it like it was your daughter's cherry. I don't know about you, but I ain't gonna die here" R.I.P Lee Ermey

  33. We will always remember this marine he went from throwing stones to all the weapons and tank and rockets and artillery

  34. I am from the Philippines and I didn't know that he married a Filipina. I enjoyed the movies where he played a role growing up but I never knew who he was. Rest in Peace sir!!! God Bless you and your family!!!

  35. Anyone ever notice this? The biggest fuck ups in civilian life and in the military academies turn out to be our best military leaders?

  36. And here I am in 2019 as a service connected disabled veteran. Only to be told by VA that as a 70% disabled veteran I just lost my medical but keep all my other benefits. Gunny, we need you still.

  37. I disagree with gunny about a house and a home. When a man and woman marry they buy a house and it stays a house. It does not become a home until the laughter of children playing makes it a home.

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