You know, that’s a good question. When I’m with the troops I see nothing but good fresh attitudes. I see morale and motivation as second to none. If they’re getting tired, they’re hiding it pretty well. Obviously, it’s damn good money over there. You have to understand that they won’t be spending any money for 13 months, so when they come back, they have a whole pocketful of 13 months of pay. Like one kid was telling me in Iraq, that’s the only way he can save any damn money. Every time I’ve been out with the troops, I’ve seen nothing but top-notch morale and motivation. These kids are ready to go, no matter how long they’ve been out there.
TW: The article says that our officers have learned that getting to the people, what they call “One RB,” that’s “relationship built,” is as good as an enemy KIA.
That’s what I’ve been calling, “winning the hearts and minds.” Evidently, our officers are pushing that hard now with our forces. If the people over there don’t like us and don’t respect us, they’re not going to help us—plain and simple. And that’s where the dark side comes from. Sometimes you have a young soldier who has no respect for anyone or anything in a foreign country, and thinks the people are inferior or something of that nature. A kid who drives on the roads like he owns the damn place, honking his horn and bumping their back bumper. He’s an Ugly American, and he hurts us.
TW: In Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border, the terrorists are growing poppies to raise money to fight us, getting together with the corrupt local officials. It’s a hell of a mess, isn’t it?
It is a mess, but I firmly believe we will overcome. There’s no question about it: As long as Obama leaves our troops in there to fight the fight, we will turn that situation around.
TW: The Pakistanis aren’t helping us, either. They’re crying and moaning about this and that. And the mayor of Karachi says the Taliban are running the place.
The Pakistanis have allowed that to happen. The Taliban have found a home, they’re building a stronghold, and the only way we’re going to flush those guys out is that after we’re finished in Afghanistan, we may have to go over and take care of Pakistan. It seems to me like we’re chasing these Taliban around the world.
TW: Pakistan is said to have 80 to 100 nuclear weapons of various types.
That’s what makes me extremely nervous about Pakistan. If the Taliban take over and have access to those nuclear weapons, the Free World had better look out. And they won’t worry about “collateral damage.” Trust me. The more collateral damage they do, the happier they are. For every mother, baby and child they kill—that’s just another plus sign on their get-this-job-done list.
TW: In Iraq, we still have suicide bombers, but our pull-back seems to be going well. Do you think the Iraqis we trained can handle their country when we’re totally out of there?
Well, if they don’t, shame on them. Because we’ve handed them a free country. We’ve handed them Freedom. We’ve dished it out to them on a silver platter, and we’re presenting that to them right now. And if they can’t hang onto it, shame on them. You know, as we take our troops out of that country and get them over to Afghanistan, these people have nothing to complain about. We’ve treated them right. Man, they’re smack in the middle of the terrorist stronghold over there. And now, right in the middle of all these Muslims, is this free country that teaches freedom and even allows their females to go to school. Isn’t that nice!
TW: On Lock N’ Load With R. Lee Ermey…on the light side…tell me what it’s like to find $8,000 lying in the road. The story was on the Associated Press, that you and one of your crew guys were driving along outside Missoula, Montana, when you spotted a black bag lying the in the middle of the road. There was $8,000 inside.
It was more like $10,000. Well, some poor guy working with the Native Americans must have been saying, “Oh, shit!” right about then. No doubt he left the bag on the roof of his vehicle while he was getting out his keys and loading up. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Left something on the roof of the car while you drove off. But never a bag of money. It was on the roof when he drove away, and then you can imagine his shock and grief down the road when he realized what he had done. I could just picture this guy getting his ass chewed out by the Chief and God knows what else. So as fast as we could, we took the money right to Wells Fargo, and they got in touch with the poor guy who thought he had lost all that money. All’s well that ends well.
TW: While filming Lock N’ Load, what’s the most interesting piece of new gear you’ve gotten your hands on?
I’d say the 155mm, Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), as it’s called. It shoots 25 miles, works with a GPS system…it’s extremely mobile…it’s mounted on a tracked vehicle. Usually, the 155mm Howitzer is a crew-served weapon, with six or seven men. This Howitzer has two men—the commander and the driver. And they can shoot five rounds a minute at different trajectories—and they all land on the same target at the same time! Five rounds will rain down on an enemy target 25 miles away all at the same time. The enemy convoy or unit, whatever it is, will be in a world of hurt. The Army right now is testing it, and I believe it’s due to come on line by 2012.
Also there’s a shotgun I want to tell you about. It’s called the M12. This shotgun, it’s a fully-automatic 12-gauge shotgun. Not semi-automatic! It’s full automatic! With zero recoil. It’s been developed by this old boy back east. We went and looked at this thing…he’s been working on it for about 10 years now…It’s gas operated…and he’s worked on the recoil springs to the point where it has no recoil whatsoever. It’s like shooting a .22. This is a private individual. And I hope the Secretary of Defense is watching our show. This guy tried to get this shotgun in the Pentagon for the military to look at, and someone who screens these people would not allow him to get his foot in the door. Evidently, if you’re not a big corporation, you can’t do a deal with the Pentagon.
TW: Perhaps you can get someone high up to watch the show.
We need Secretary Gates to watch this show. Somebody out there who knows him should put a bug in his ear. I’ll tell you what. If I was going to Afghanistan for 13 months, this shotgun is a weapon I would like to have. It’s got a drum magazine…it holds over 20 rounds. This thing goes blumb, blumb, blumb, blumb! It’ll shoot any kind of shell—BBs, buckshot, slugs, the whole ball of wax. Talk about clearing a house! Well, he’s also got a robot that he can hook this shotgun up to. And this robot can clear a building. And you don’t have to put some young man’s life on the line to clear this building now. There’s a lot of really neat stuff out there in the UAV field.
TW: By the time this issue of TW is in print, The History Channel will have your new show running on a regular schedule, correct?
Absolutely. It’s on their schedule on Friday nights at 9 pm Eastern. Check local schedules. If you miss a show, there are re-runs at various times. As proud as I am of my old Mail Call, I’ve got to say that Lock N’ Load is so much better. It’s shot in high-definition, covering weapons as they’ve never been covered before, in locations all over the map. We’ve shot in 20 below zero, to 105 degrees at Fort Benning, Georgia. I work with a crew of seven. We’re quite a team, I’m proud to say. We have a super-slo-mo camera that is incredibly impressive. I can’t say enough about the team of hard working individuals that are manning Lock N’ Load.
TW: Have you had any time for Match shooting?
Being out on the road filming Lock N’ Load for most of this year, I haven’t been on the range as much as I would like. But that’s not stopping me from being at the Nationals at Camp Perry, Ohio. I’ll be shooting the M1 Garand in individual and team matches. I really take competitive shooting seriously. I love the guns and the people I’m shooting with. My greatest wish in competitive shooting is that I could get my 200,000 Devil Dogs [Marines, as called by the Germans in the First World War] involved. All those young men and women who have been well trained, are totally versed in firearms safety, and know how to hit the targets—they belong on the firing lines in civilian competitive shooting. We need more shooters, more people involved with the NRA.
TW: How are things going with your relationship with Glock?
I’ll continue to be Glock’s spokesperson for at least two more years, and perhaps even one more after that. I like the company, their products, and the people. I’m looking forward to representing them in every way I can. By the way, I got one of the biggest laughs I’ve had in recent times while representing Glock at an NRA Convention. When I walked into the hall there was the enormous, towering poster of President Obama. Beneath it was the caption, “Salesperson of the Year.” His policies and the liberals’ anti-gun threats have made people start buying guns and ammo in such numbers that most manufacturers are back-ordered. I couldn’t get over it—President Barack Obama, “Salesperson of the Year.”
TW: Finally, back here in the USA, what was your reaction to another Border Patrol officer being shot while on duty?
Another Border Patrol man killed. And why? Well, it’s because the Border Patrol people are afraid to pull their guns. They’re afraid they’re going to be like the other two and go to prison for 20 years…for shooting a drug dealer! Our Border Patrol is running scared. I feel sorry for those guys. We make them go to school. We make them raise their right hands…put their hand on the Bible and raise the other hand…and swear to God to uphold the laws of this country…and then we won’t let them do it!
For all kinds of Gunny memorabilia and DVDs, including DVDs, including “Full Metal Jacket” and “Mail Call” episodes, check out the Gunny Digital Px at px.rleeermey.com.