Gunny travels to New Mexico to "hang out with my friends" in law enforcement
Albuquerque, New Mexico - It took little time for Gunny R. Lee Ermey to become a fan favorite at NRA's National Police Shooting Championships in Albuquerque. Not because of his Hollywood celebrity status or his years of service in the United States Marine Corps, but because of the way he identifies with the competitors.
"Every year before this event takes place I start getting real antsy, wanting to come down and see my buddies," Ermey told the Awards Ceremony crowd. "It's a pleasure to come on down here, just hang out with you guys."
Ermey's first appeared at the National Police Shooting Championships (NPSC) in 2009. Drawing crowds on the range and in the vendor hall, it is his time at the Awards Ceremony that usually draws the ravest reviews. Probably because it is one of the few times he allows the humorous side to break through.
Especially when it came to needling this year's Grand Aggregate Champion Robert Vadasz.
"You guys are going to have to work on your shooting. You're going to have to take some time off work, get out to the range, now it's obvious that Robert must be in charge of the damn range, but ... "
And when addressing Vadasz's idea for increasing the numbers of NPSC competitors by bringing a friend to next year's championships ...
"I think it's because he thinks you guys are getting boring."
An 11-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Ermey jumped to national prominence after his staring role in Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam War classic Full Metal Jacket. His work as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman earned critical acclaim including a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Since then, he's gone on to star in more than a hundred roles along side actors such as Gene Hackman, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones and Vince Vaughn.
Between roles, he supports a variety of causes and serves as a board member of the National Rifle Association. But Ermey doesn't make the trip out to New Mexico due to any official obligations. He does it because he cares.
"It's an absolute pleasure for me to come down here. It's got to the point where I've made a lot of friends. So every year before this event takes place I start getting real antsy, wanting to come down and see my buddies.
"Glen Hoyer (NRA's Director of Law Enforcement) is a dear friend of mine and works his fingers to the bone and he makes it happen and he does it with a lot of class.
"It's a pleasure to come on down here just hang out with you guys. There's no pressure and it's a real relaxing situation. It's just me hanging out with my friends."
For more on NRA's National Police Shooting Championships, visit their website at npsc.nra.org