“If any of you maggots got the brains or nerve to ask me a good question, I’ll answer it right here!”
Editor’s Note: Our latest chat with Gunny took place after raging fires devastated Southern California. Gunny lives just north of L.A. and was not directly in the path of the flames, but the event was very much on his mind when we talked.
Q: What were your thoughts while the fires were wreaking havoc out there?
Well, I’ve been saying for a long time, and I’ve mentioned it to some people pretty high up at the Pentagon…If I was a terrorist, I would drive around and start setting fires. If the terrorists could bankrupt the insurance industries, they would bring this country to its knees. The terrorists can just waltz across our borders of Mexico or Canada, drive around, buy gasoline, and set fires. If I started in NY, I bet I could start a thousand fires between NY and AK, and never be caught. Some of the fires out here were 30 or 40 miles apart. No ember is going to float and start burning and start a fire that far apart. This tells me that we’ve already got a lot of people trying to burn this country down.
Q: They had the Santa Ana wind blowing in southern California at the time. That’s a unique situation, isn’t it?
That is something important. If I was a terrorist that’s what I would wait for. I would wait for that Santa Ana Wind and make sure that everything is just perfect. We had 12 fires burning at one time here, in southern CA. One of them was no more than a few miles from my home and it’s a scary thing. Most of the fires were down toward the ocean, about a three-hour drive from where I live. Even though the big fires were miles from where I was at, we were getting the smoke, and the ashes were coming down. The air quality was shit. We were sneezing and coughing.
Q: Despite escaping the brushfires, I understand you had a fire at your home. Can you tell us about it?
My office burned and four rooms burned down. I lost a lot of memorabilia and possessions. I was doing some remodeling with new woodwork, and the guy who came in to stain it, wiped it down with rags. And he was going to come back the next day and do the varnish, and he put his rags on a window sill to dry. The Fire Inspector said the sun cooked those rags up and we got spontaneous combustion. That stain is like lighter fluid. Anyway, I’m rebuilding now. The glass is always half full with me. I can rebuild and make the office better than ever.
Q: Could the danger and this Santa Ana wind be seen coming? Could steps have been taken?
Yes, but the environmentalists out here won’t let the Forestry Service go in and clear underbrush, which is the fuel for these fires. The Tree-Huggers think they know best about what to do to with our wilderness. They’re saying if we let the Forest Service go in and clear the dead brush from the bottom of these trees, we’re destroying our wilderness areas. It’s disgusting.
Q: We need to create fire lanes, right?
Yes, but in trying to create a fire line, we’re doomed…the environmentalists say we’re destroying the environment again. And what we’re trying to do is protect the environment! And they won’t allow that because most of them are city people who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground anyway.
Q: Most of them wouldn’t know a Canadian Goose from a Loon, would they?
Here’s a case: They want to bankrupt these poor farmers up in Oregon, where they found some carp in a lake that the farmers had been sucking water out of for years to irrigate the crops. Right away, the environmentalists say that sucker fish are endangered, they will be harmed if taking water out of that lake continues, as they had been doing for over 30 years—without any harm to the suckerfish!
Q: Are those the kind of environmentalists who are apt to say we can’t cut the underbrush because there’s some kind of rare gecko running around?
That’s right. And I say, ‘Screw the gecko!’ But don’t burn peoples’ houses down. It’s like what I heard on T.V., George Carlin on some show spouting off his loud mouth. ‘It was the peoples’ fault that their homes burned.’ he said. ‘They shouldn’t have built there in the first place.’ He’s a city boy. He obviously doesn’t understand the forests or why someone would want to live close to a nice natural environment. It’s like saying that when the shark kills someone, we were encroaching on its turf it deserved to die. Why don’t you take a nice refreshing dip in the ocean, George.
Q: Will environmentalists have to start cutting some slack on the underbrush?
Big time! Be reasonable about it. Let’s cut fire lanes, let’s keep the dead dried underbrush cleared out from the forest floor in danger areas. This is common sense, and it seems to me, that these people just don’t have too much of it. I’m very conservative when it comes to nature. I’m a hunter and a fisherman. We have to exercise common sense and wildlife management.
Q: Have you visited with troops recently?
I just returned from Okinawa and Japan. It’s a traditional thing with me. November 10th is the Marine Corps birthday. We take this seriously. The Marine Corps was founded in Philadelphia 231 years ago. Once a year, we, as Marines, put on our dress uniforms and get our wives all dressed up in evening gowns, and go out and have a wonderful evening. I’m invited to be guest speaker in upwards of 25 Balls a year. I found myself spending so much time on airplanes, that it was just killing me. I could do only nine, maybe 12. So a few years back I decided to start just doing the Birthday Balls in Okinawa.
I work very closely with MCCS (Marine Corps Community Service.) They look after the Marines. That’s their responsibility. They set up the schedule for me. They notify the units on Okinawa and Japan and ask them, which would they like to have me as the guest speaker. I was scheduled to do about 15 balls this year. I like to enlighten the Okinawa Marines’ lives a little bit. These are young people that serve eight, 12, 30 months over there. Some of them are accompanied by their wives. So it’s kind of nice to see that smiling face from home. I enjoy doing the Balls. I haven’t missed the Birthday Ball in 46 years.
Q: What’s the spirit out there? Do you see much change?
The motivation and morale are second to none. I’m with the troops on a constant basis. I don’t socialize with civilians much, certainly not with people from Hollyweird. When I think that I need a social evening, I jump in the pickup truck and drive down to Camp Pendleton and go to the Staff Non-Commissioned Officers Club and enjoy an evening with my friends. We seem to have something in common, whereas I have nothing in common with anybody from Hollywood.
Q: How are our troops holding up?
Well, we’ve got people like Harry Reid coming on and saying the war has been lost. I don’t know where Harry is getting his information from, but obviously not from the military. And that’s the people I know. I socialize with them before they go, I socialize with them when they come back. We have conversations about what the accomplishments are, what morale is like. Morale is sky high, it’s through the roof with everybody who is over there fighting that war, well, I would say except for the ones who aren’t suited for military service…and there’s a few. But I believe that if we don’t take care of that business in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we’re fighting terrorists, we’re going to have to take care of it here at home.
Q: Terrorism seems a popular occupation for many Muslims. Do you agree?
I don’t really have that problem with the religion. It’s just the fanatics that are crazy. They want to rule the world. I tried to get a copy, an English copy of The Koran, their Bible, so to speak, and I checked four or five bookstores and I could not find it in English. I’ve since learned you can find copies through the Internet. I would like to see in there where The Koran tells them to go kill the infidels, people who do not share their faith. And I keep hearing they are to have this thing where they attack us all out, the Holy War, the Jihad. I’d like to know more about this thing. I would just like to know the truth so that I can better pass judgment. When I get a copy of The Koran and read it, or some of it, maybe I could better understand where these terrorists nuts are coming from.
Q: The T.V. program R. Lee Ermey’s Vietnam was on The History Channel not long ago [and is a likely candidate for being re-run]. Was it strange going back?
I thought the show was interesting. We had a great time shooting it. It was almost medicinal for me. We stayed in Hanoi the first couple of nights. I spent the first night there at the Marine House with the Marines who are the Embassy Marines in Hanoi. We have an Embassy in Hanoi. We had two weeks. We worked our way south Saigon. We went to the Rockpile, Ka San, Red Beach, Marble Mountain, Chuli and Fubi. We went to all the old firebases that we could find. We found most of them.
We also went to the tunnels in North Vietnam. We did part of the show in the tunnels. We stopped at really nice places to eat, Vietnamese places. The country is beautiful and the people are very nice. They’ve forgotten we were even there, as a matter of fact…so they don’t hold us to blame or anything of that nature. There’s no crime in Vietnam. The crime rate is zero. There are no drug problems, everybody has a job, no unemployment. The country is doing well. And everywhere you look there are new buildings being erected.
Q: Why is there no crime?
Everybody works. That’s why. Here we have the have-nots wanting what the haves have. We have unemployment, welfare problems and things of that nature. Those countries don’t have welfare . The government will put you to work, pay a livable wage until you find the job that you’re looking for. Then they’ll release you and you go to work at the job wherever the hell it is you wanted to. It works great. We have giveaways in this country. I think it takes incentive away from people. Welfare was never designed or meant to be a way of life. Yet there are some families who have made it exactly that—a way of life. They’ve never had a job, never wanted a job. Why should they? If welfare’s good enough for mom and dad, it’s good enough for me. When I was a kid they were called winos, hobos and bums. Now they’re called homeless, which is totally unfair to the people that have a legitimate reason to be homeless.
Q: How were the natives, and how were you received?
It’s a very safe society. Everybody I spoke to, and I was out with the public all the time, they all seemed very happy. There was no government interference in their everyday lives, they had the freedom to choose where they wanted to go to school, what they wanted to study, what business they wanted to start up, where they wanted to live—it’s a pretty free society over there. I understand it’s a communist country but it’s a very relaxed form of communism.
Tourism has become their main industry. They’ve got their own airline now, an international airport, what once was Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base. They don’t know that a government exists. They have nice hotels. I tell you, I recommend any Vietnam veteran who spent any time over there, go back and have a look at that country.
Q: In our last issue, many readers appreciated your poignant remarks on illegal aliens. Do you have any further thoughts?
I do as a matter of fact. I’m writing an article right now, and I’m going to post an audio/video “Rant” on my web site rleeermey.com on the laws illegal aliens are breaking, how they’re breaking them, and what could be done about it if we had any national leaders with backbone.
TW: That’s great, Gunny. We’ll be checking in to see it and the rest of your great postings on there. Thanks for being with us for this issue. —Semper Fi.
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.
“If any of you maggots got the brains or nerve to ask me a good…
by Tactical Weapons / Mar 1, 2008