Ingle got to speak to Ermey for just 10 minutes, but the film school graduate said it was worth the wait.
“What a gentleman,” Ingle said, moments after walking away from the meeting, smiling and wearing dark-rimmed glasses. “I've been waiting to ask him a question for years, and I just did and he answered it. It was great.”
Ingles asked Ermey about how the actor got the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman it the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket. Originally slated to be an advisor to the film, insuring it was true-to-life, director Stanley Kubrick liked Ermey for the role and offered him the acting job, Ermey said.
“A lot of the people are under the misconception that I stumbled into it, but it was my fifth show,” Ermey said, pointing out that he had already been acting for two years.
According to his official website, Ermey, a real-life drill instructor, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1961 and served 15 months in Vietnam before he was medically retired in 1972 due to injuries he received during his tour.
Ermey came to Anniston Saturday for the grand opening of Creedmoor Sports, a company that manufactures competitive shooting gear. The business, which is near the McClellan Park Medical Mall and Meeting Center, recently relocated from California.
The line outside the new store at the manufacturing business seemed to stand still through the afternoon, but the people who met Ermey didn’t complain.
Creedmoor General Manager Dennis DeMille said Ermey ended up at the grand opening because he and DeMille are friends and are on the same competitive shooting team.
The actor spent several minutes with each visitor, taking time to sign multiple copies of his photograph for some people. Others brought their own items for Ermey to sign, a copy of the movie Full Metal Jacket, a wooden gun frame.
Austris Stack and his wife, Elaine Stack, came to meet Ermey with their daughter and son-in-law. Austris carried an green notebook for Ermey to sign. Austris said he received the notebook when he joined the military.
“I’m out here because he is a service member, and I believe in what he stands for,” Austris Stack said.
While many of the people in line outside at Creedmoor Sports Saturday know of Ermey because of his acting, several said they appreciate him because of his support of the Second Amendment. Ermey has served on the board of directors for the National Rifle Association, and in 2012 he appeared in an ad for the group’s “Trigger the Vote” voter registration drive.
Mike Sessa, an autoworker from Pell City, said his visit to the opening Saturday was his third time meeting Ermery.
“He is a great man,” he said. “He stands for what America stands for … God, guts and guns.”
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.