Home » Military Personnel » VIDEO: Marine, Actor R. Lee Ermey Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

VIDEO: Marine, Actor R. Lee Ermey Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

Marines fold a flag over the remains of R. Lee Ermey on Jan. 18, 2018. USNI News Photo

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. – R. Lee Ermey, the actor and former U.S. Marine drill instructor who achieved iconic status after appearing in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Originally from Kansas, Ermey enlisted in the Marines in 1961 and became a drill instructor in San Diego before being sent to Asia where he served tours of duty in Okinawa and Vietnam. Rising to rank of staff sergeant, he was medically discharged in 1972 due to injuries.

After using his G.I. Bill benefits to study drama at the University of Manila, he landed a few minor roles, most notably in the Vietnam films Apocalypse Now and The Boys in Company C.

He would later gain notoriety and critical acclaim as Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann in Full Metal Jacket. Initially working as a technical advisor, Ermey’s screen presence and natural ability to yell colorful insults made such an impression on director Stanley Kubrick that the he decided to have Ermey replace the original actor hired for the role.

His breakout role in Full Metal Jacket launched a long film career in which he frequently portrayed military and law enforcement figures. His distinctive speaking style and cadence also made him a popular voiceover artist. In addition, he hosted a few military-themed reality television shows that usually included segments in which Ermey enthusiastically demonstrated various weapons.

Ermey remained an outspoken supporter of the military throughout his life and believed all service personnel should be afforded respect, telling USNI News in a 2015 interview “I was in during the Vietnam era, so we weren’t widely respected at all. Matter of fact, that was the era when, when you came back from war, they spit on you. That was the hippie generation though. There’s still some problems, still some situations, and there’s still some people in this world who just refuse to support our beloved military.”

R. Lee Ermey, an actor and retired Marine, prepares to interview Marines from Field Medical Training Battalion West, Camp Pendleton, Calif., at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif. in 2012. US Marine Corps Photo

For his continued dedication to the military, Ermey became the first Marine retiree to receive a promotion when he was made an honorary gunnery sergeant by USMC Commandant General James Jones in 2002.

Ermey passed away from complications related to pneumonia on April 15 at the age of 74, but his interment at Arlington took place nine months later due to the backlog at the cemetery. The number of daily requests for services at Arlington for eligible veterans has become so great that delays of several months for burials are common.

  • airider

    Semper Fi Gunny … fair winds.

  • Curtis Conway

    “BZ” . . . Fair winds and following seas Gunny. We are going to miss you.

  • NavySubNuke

    The man who made “the courtesy of a reach around” part of the vocabulary of so many – including (allegedly) Kubrick himself who had no idea what it was.
    Semper Fi Gunny.

  • j James

    The JH’s are kinda doughy .Just like Pvt.Pyle.

  • John Allen

    He was not a “former” Marine; once a Marine, always a Marine.

    • Cliff Clavin

      I have meet some Maries that are a total embarrassment to the Corps and I don’t consider them a Marine. Consider Charles Whitman who was the first real mass shooter. There are other Marines who are a disgrace to the Corps.

      Just like any other profession there are failures in the Marine Corps.

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        John Murtha Jr. comes to mind…

      • Rocco

        Who cares !!! Just mentioning that on this post wasn’t necessary!!! Point!! Place & time for everything!!

        • old guy

          HEAR, HEAR. Some people think that it is clever to always inject a sour note.

          • Rocco

            Thankyou sir!

  • Frank Lee

    Fair winds and following seas Gunny. Until we meet again. at Heaven’s Gate

  • Kypros

    RIP. A couple of those Marines look pretty chubby.

    • Rocco

      No respect!!

      • Kypros

        No disrespect intended, just a surprising observation.

        • Rocco

          Well not necessary!! Some things should not be said! As it’s a indirect personal attack!

    • jon spencer

      Search for “Marine Corps Body Bearers” on youtube. That will give the reason that those Marines are large.

      I tried to have a link attached but the usni seems to think that a official USMC video is spam.

      • Kypros

        Thanks. I just learned something.

  • Rocco

    Semper Fi Gunny😇⚓

  • old guy

    A terrific Marine, actor and advocate. A credit to all, and a proud American.

  • Western

    God Bless him.

  • CaptainParker

    On one of his Cable TV specials, the Gunny made a trip to visit US Marines in Iraq. His presence was just electrifying…you could see the troops were just loving every minute of it. The cameras then turned to the unit officers standing nearby…you could see them beaming with the knowledge that this unit’s morale just went through the roof. The troops loved the Gunny because he HAD walked the walk. I’m sure he is putting Heaven’s recruits through their paces right now – St. Peter couldn’t have a better DI. The Gunny will be missed.