A Tribute to Full Metal Jacket’s Private Pyle

private pyle featureIf you’ve only seen the first half of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 war film Full Metal Jacket, you’ve likely decided never to join the United States Marine Corps, particularly if you’re an overweight, clumsy, slow-witted recruit who enjoys eating jelly doughnuts. Unfortunately for Private Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence (Vincent D’Onofrio), that’s what he is. And the adventure begins.

(Buy Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition) on Blu-ray)

Here we meet Private Pyle

Training with Private Pyle

Private Pyle’s jelly doughnut

The original cut of the left/right scene

Something we used to do at sleepaway camp…


Pyle’s Gun

Though the soldiers get M16s when they arrive in Vietnam, they are trained with M14 rifles. This is where Private Pyle excels.

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Memorize this, and chant along with the video:

“This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my rifle and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.”

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Private Pyle with his rifle, Charlene.

Sergeant Hartman: How many counts in that movement you just executed?
Private Pyle: Sir, 4 counts, sir!
Sergeant Hartman: What’s the idea of looking down in the chamber?
Private Pyle: Sir, that is to guarantee that the Private is not giving the inspecting officer a loaded weapon, sir!
Sergeant Hartman: What’s your fifth general order?
Private Pyle: Sir, the Private’s fifth general order is to quit my post only when properly relieved, sir!
Sergeant Hartman: What’s this weapon’s name, Private Pyle?
Private Pyle: Sir, the Private’s weapon’s name is Charlene, sir!
Sergeant Hartman: Private Pyle, you are definitely born again hard. Hell, I may even allow you to serve as a rifleman in my beloved Corps.
Private Pyle: Sir, yes, sir!

We feel all warm and gushy inside. Private Pyle and Gunnery Sergeant Hartman have a moment together. But Private Pyle now has an M14 rifle, locked and loaded with full metal jacketed 7.62x51mm NATO ammo.

Pop culture note: On The Simpsons, Homer made Bart name his golf club Charlene.


Before we get to the real scene, let’s see how it plays out as a cartoon.

Okay, now the real scene.


It’s this part of the tribute where we normally list action figures, T-shirts, and other things based on the person who we’re honoring. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any Private Pyle action figures or bronze statues, or even XXXL T-shirts. However, we did find a few of R. Lee Ermey, who played Sergeant Hartman (who is #3 on Gunaxin’s Badass Movie Soldiers list). Sideshow Collectibles made several, which you can buy for target practice.

PT R. Lee Ermey

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