The Real Movie D.I.

The Real Movie D.I.

I remember seeing Full Metal Jacket with my first wife the third day of its release in Covina, Ca. We didn’t get there early enough so we were seated in the 4th or 5th row from the screen and the theater was packed. During the the bootcamp segment of the film, there was one other guy in theater aside from me that was laughing during R. Lee Ermey’s initial confrontations with Joker, snowball, cowboy and Lawrence. My wife nudged me and asked me “Was bootcamp really like that?” My reply was “Yup!” She asked me why I was laughing and I told her “It may of been scary at the time but since I lived it, I can laugh about it now.” You just can’t script a D.I. because I remember our D.I.’s, Sgt. Thymes (Plt. Commander), Sgt. Parrish, and Sgt. Brundage using a lot of the same language R. Lee Ermey used. Then one wife and 29 or so years later, my Grandson and I went to Brea Ca. to a police equipment store and met R. Lee Ermey in person. He was a friendly man and had a great admiration for first responders AND their Grandkids. Semper Fi, Gunny! You have earned your place in Heaven. OOhhhrrraaahhh! Daniel Miller, Plt. 3105, 3rd bn., RTR, San Diego, Ca. 9/74-12/74.
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10 comments


  • J.C. Wile

    Semper fi do or die OORAH


  • J.C. Wile

    My DIs were exactly like that. If they werent I wouldn’t be here today and I love them for it. I was also one of the smallest in my platoon. Would love to meet any of them today to say thank u for making a scrawny 17 year old into a man


  • Dave Lawrence

    With the single exception of “Private Pyle” smuggling in live rounds from the firing line, the portrayal rings 100% true with me. I was slapped, punched – belay that: “thumped” – and (once) smacked so hard on the top of my head with a boot brush that I briefly blacked out. One of our Drill Instructors employed the novel physical punishment of choking Privates into brief unconsciousness with a length of rubber washing machine hose, also used to train us in the use of a garrote. And yet, this treatment was no more or less than I (and probably most of our platoon) had expected to receive, as the belief (possibly valid) was that it was better for a recruit to break during the physical abuse in boot camp than to break during the rigors of combat and cause the death of fellow Marines. I had, and have to this day, nothing but respect for those Drill Instructors who pushed us to make it through those 13 weeks and earn the title “Marine”.


  • C. Stoney Brook

    Harry, I get it that FMJ was a movie, just like ‘Band of Brothers’, ‘The Pacific’, ‘Patton’, ‘Jarhead’, ‘Saving Ryan’s Privates’, ‘The Longest Day’, and ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ were “just movies.” However, non-Marines don’t always understand the difference between Reality and the need to (over) dramatize events.Gunny Emery’s portrayal of a DI was not really how I remember by Drill Instructors nor how I’d want my sons to believe a professional Marine SNCO would ‘train’ recruits. Emery’s character wasn’t building men, he was a sadistic brute. He didn’t develop character, he instilled fear. The other characters were one-dimensional and unrealistic as combat Marines. We’re all entitled to opinions, even when they’re wrong.


  • Dan Miller

    @MgySgt Jim Mackin — Thanks for the info. I started my Law Enforcement career at Orange County Sheriff Academy way back in ’86. I’ll have to go down and see Sgt. Brundage. Sgt. Brundage, If you read this it would be my pleasure to treat you to a BIG steak dinner sometime. You definitely changed my life from “160 lbs. of chewed bubble gum” to a squared away Marine.


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