The foul-mouthed, hard-nosed drill instructor made famous by Stanley Kubrick's classic war film "Full Metal Jacket" ruffled some feathers early last month for commenting at a charity event that President Barack Obama wants "to bring this country to its knees" and institute "socialism."
His proposed solution: "Rise up" and "stop this administration" from "destroying this country."
Now, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman -- the character which has carried the career of R. Lee Ermey -- is doing the unthinkable: apologizing.
This one hurt me to the core. I liked Ermey. He's made a career out of portraying an over-the-top caricature of an old-time Marine Gunnery Sergeant. It's not a true representation by any means, but old Marines like me just fuckin' love it.
He's not a real Gunny either. He was medically retired as a Staff Sergeant after a crate fell out of a helicopter on him, or something like that, in Vietnam. He holds an honorary rank of GySgt conferred on him by the Marine Corps largely because he's gung ho on the Corps' behalf. That's good. In my day Gunnies were cool, Staff Sergeants were all pricks. Besides, the rank of Gunny has a mythology and cachet about it that no other rank has. It's part of the tribal lore of the Corps.
This time he stepped on his dick with lies and calumny towards the Commander-in-Chief while wearing a uniform he's only actually entitled to wear while playing a role. He's no more an active duty Marine than I am.
Good thing, too. What he said is in clear violation of Article 89, possibly shoehornable into Article 88 since a Gunny is an officer in a non-commissioned status, maybe even Article 94 for the 'rise up' crack, of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which us old servicemen were all too familiar with. Active duty personnel do not have the civil rights and freedom of speech that us civilians do. If Ermey was a real Marine instead of just playing one on TV, he'da gotten rid of a few stripes and maybe got some brig time. McChrystal got sacked for saying a lot less and he was a fucking General.
There's an absolutely hilarious great line in several articles in the UCMJ - "penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense". Ya done stuck it in the woodchipper this time, Gunny.
I'm glad he walked his ignorant lying wingnut comment back a little ways, but the damage is done. Ignorant gullible wingers fall for those talking points like nobody's business.
Ermey didn't make his remarks on behalf of GEICO for whom he's a spokesman, but that's where I'm going to hit back the best I can. My GEICO auto insurance expires in March. I'm going with Progressive (who insure my bike) and I will make damn sure GEICO knows why.