Captain Grose's R. Lee Ermey pages

Please help me keep this site going..


The Chance Encounter

 

 
U
N
I
T
E
D
 
S
T
A
T
E
S
M
A
R
I
N
E
C
O
R
P
S
 
 
 

 

 



The following story is about my chance meeting with one of my all time heoes. If you have ever seen Full Metal Jacket, you will never forget R. Lee Ermey as the scathing DI that, in his own words to me, "ripped them a new asshole," speaking of the actors portraying Marine Corps recruits bound for Vietnam.

I was a MECEP student at the University of Washington which meant that I was an active duty Sergeant going to college in order to earn a degree and subsequently a commission as a Marine Corps officer. I was working part time as a security guard for the Pavilion and stadium at the university.

This particular day, I was a bit worried because I had not one but two finals the next day and I was looking forward to a quiet night to get some last minute studying done. Little did I know, my afternoon would be so much different than I expected.

As part of my rounds, I walked through the famed tunnel where the Washington Huskies come exploding out of to the heart-pounding screams of 85,000+ maniacal fans every Saturday morning during football season. But this day, I noticed something different. I was not told that anything was going on that day so you can imagine my surprise when I noticed that the tunnel was blocked off by alternating partitions painted a baby blue color. I also noticed a few people sitting down along the wall dressed in some rather strange clothing. Being in college, this did not strike me as too strange but I decided to investigate.

As I weaved in and out of the partitions, I finally came through to the tunnel entrance to find that there were several hundred people and a camera crew on the field. Everyone was dressed in 70s clothing and the entrance to the tunnel had been painted to look different: a little Hollywood magic.

As I am standing there in total confusion, I hear "Hey SGT Grose" from a part of the track by the stadium seats. I walk over, not recognizing anyone until one of the Marines that is stationed at the I&I staff at Fort Lewis catches my eye. I went over to him to ask him what was going on and I find out that they are filming a movie set in the 70s Olympics. They used Marines for the parts of the Olympic judges because our haircuts match the style of the conservative judges at the time. Then my friend points over to and asks if I recognize an actor standing nearby.

As I look over, I instantly recognize R. Lee Ermey and my heart leaps to my throat. Not 20 yards away, there he was talking to another actor. I also saw Ed O'neal (Al Bundy from Married With Children) but that did not matter to me. The man, the legend was standing right there and I knew that I had to go over and say something to him.

I had once gone to the library before the internet became big and researched this man. I read every article I could find on him and knew that he had been a drill instructor as a Corporal during Vietnam. I knew a few other things I wanted to ask him about and felt compelled to relay my story to him of how he had impacted my life. I had written to him while I was in the Gulf War but to no avail. I was not about to let this opportunity slip through my fingers. Never being too shy and knowing my "in" with him was the fact that we were both Marines, I walked right up to him and waited patiently while he finished his conversation with his friend. I stood there unbelieving that I was looking at Gunnery Sergeant Hartman who would glance over at me wondering who I was as he listened to the gentlemen who was talking to him. I had a badge and a walkie-talkie so, obviously, I was authorized to be there (A fact I often took advantage of: if you look official, no one questions you).

After he finished listening, he turned to me and I thrust out my hand and introduced myself in one long breath. I knew once he found out that I was a Marine, it would be OK. He seemed genuinely pleased that I wanted to talk to him and I was lucky enough to catch him between takes so we had about 1/2 hour to talk. Here are some of the stories he told me and, of course, they all have to do with Full Metal Jacket.


Chance Encounter
In The Beginning...
The Fear Was Real
He Even Scared Me
Who Were Those Privates, Anyway?
Sleeping with the Smokey
What Have You Done To Me?
All Good Things Must Come to An End


Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
Web -- http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

Please help me keep this site going...