Hollywood comes to Fort Leonard Wood
August 28, 2009
By Luke Waack
- "Full Metal Jacket" star, R. Lee Ermey comes to Fort Leonard Wood
- Ermey hosts History Channel's "Lock N' Load" and filmed segment for show on post
- U.S. Army Sapper was resident expert for show's segment
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - "Gunny" R. Lee Ermey, the actor and retired Marine who starred in "Full Metal Jacket" as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, visited Fort Leonard Wood, this week.
Ermey came to post while filming the final episode of his new History Channel TV series, "Lock N' Load," which he calls, "'Mail Call' on steroids." Mail Call was Gunny's previous TV series in which he answered fans' questions about military life and weapons.
"'Lock N' Load is a much better show; we blow a lot more stuff up," Ermey said.
The season started three weeks ago, and the show chronicles the history of military weapons systems, Ermey said.
"We have shot in 30 different states," Ermey said.
"This particular show is called 'Bunker Busting.' We've got trebuchets in it, which they used to use to beat down castle walls. We've evolved to this point, this is the last sequence in the show - this is how we do it today," Ermey said.
Ermey was given a lesson in breach charges Army engineers use in combat by Staff Sgt. Corey Wilkens, Sapper Leader Course instructor.
Wilkens was impressed by Ermey's personality.
"You don't know what to expect when you meet a movie star, but holy cow, he's a really good guy," Wilkens said.
Wilkens showed Ermey the explosive power of breach charges used for Military Operations in Urban Terrain - water impulse, detonation cord linear, doughnut and oval charges.
Wilkens will appear in the "Bunker Busting" episode of "Lock and Load" as Ermey's subject matter expert. The series airs Friday nights on the History Channel, but a specific show date was not available for "Bunker Busting."
So far, Ermey is the biggest celebrity to film on Fort Leonard Wood, said Tiffany Wood, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office. A special Army office, near Hollywood, made the visit possible.
"They (Ermey's production team) went to the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs in Los Angeles, and they contacted me to see if we could support this," Wood said.
Wood contacted the U.S. Army Engineer School - home of the Sapper School - and the unit agreed to support the show, she said.
And Ermey loves to show his support for the military with his TV and volunteer work.
"The Marine Corps retired me out in 1972, and I just kept showing up for work. I've been with the Marine Corps for 48 fantastic years. I give them about 100 days a year, if they need more, the Commandant will call me and ask me for more. I go to Iraq and Afghanistan every year. Last Christmas, I was in Iraq handing out 10,000 Christmas presents. This year, I'll be in Afghanistan doing the same thing," Ermey said.
The production crew started filming Monday and finished Wednesday.
Before departing the installation, Ermey took time to visit with Soldiers at the USO, Tuesday evening.