Support our mission
R. Lee Ermey, in a 2004 file photo.
R. Lee Ermey, in a 2004 file photo. (Stars and Stripes)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Listen up, maggots! Marine “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey is returning to Okinawa to “take some Qs and kick some A’s.”

Ermey, a former Marine drill instructor and film and television actor, will be signing copies of his new book, “Mail Call,” at the Kadena Bookmark Jan. 9 from 3 to 7 p.m. and the Foster Bookmark Jan. 10 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Ermey received a Golden Globe nomination and the Boston Society of Film Critic’s Best Supporting Actor’s award for his role as the hard-bitten Marine drill instructor in Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War movie “Full Metal Jacket.” He’s been a featured actor in numerous films, including “Dead Man Walking,” “Mississippi Burning,” and “Apocalypse Now,” and is the host of The History Channel’s “Mail Call,” which focuses on investigating military technology over the ages.

Ermey served 11 years in the Marine Corps, serving a tour in Vietnam in 1968 with Marine Wing Support Group 17. He later served two tours on Okinawa, where he ran a bar in Kin for three years after his medical discharge in 1972. He later went to college on the G.I. Bill, graduating from the University of Manila in the Philippines as a drama major.

For a long time Ermey, now 61, specialized in playing Americans in advertising campaigns in the Philippines, becoming the country’s “Marlboro Man.”

In May 2002 Ermey received an honorary promotion to gunnery sergeant from the commandant of the Marine Corps, becoming the first retiree in Marine Corps history to receive such an honor.

According to blurbs published on Ermey’s Web site (, the book includes photos, historical anecdotes and interviews with top experts and active-duty servicemembers.


stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up