Friday, March 03, 2006

You got the wrong guy. I'm the Dude, man.

I am often asked, "What's with the nickname?
Why Gunny?"

Well, this is as good a time as any to divulge the secret as to why and why it has stuck all these years.

Having been raised in a military family, I wanted to go into the military myself. In fact, I wanted to go to West Point. However, I learned that I could not go to West Point due to an eye injury suffered as an 8-year old. So, it seemed the next best thing was to join the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University. A&M had originally been a military academy (the Corps remains the largest uniformed body of students in the nation outside the U.S. service academies) and my intent was to go through their seven-day ROTC program into the military.

In order to psyche myself up for this experience, I spent the summer after high school heavily immersed in the movie Full Metal Jacket. Given a knack for memorization and a handheld recorder, at summer's end I had the opening monologue of the senior drill instructor, Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, memorized.

For example:

I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your Senior Drill Instructor. From now on, you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be "Sir!" Do you maggots understand that?!

While in the Corps at A&M, especially during morning formation, the upperclassmen would say, "Do the Gunny, fish Hartman; do the Gunny." So, I would go into my rant. I had some of my buddies trained to play the parts of other characters (i.e., Privates Snowball, Joker, Cowboy, and Pyle).

However, during this time I became a Christian and one day it dawned on me that it probably wasn't the best witness to be shouting vulgarities in formation, even if in jest. But, the nickname stuck for me and holds a special place in my heart. As odd as its origin might be, I liken it to a conversion name, like Saul to Paul. People that know me as Gunny know an entirely different human than the one I was before.

At A&M, I still had a desire to go into the military, particularly the Marines, but wound up medically disqualified from any branch due to abovementioned injury. My service would just have to be in the Lord's army. But, I could still strive to live the Marine motto, Semper Fi, short for Semper Fidelis, "Always Faithful."



At 06 March, 2006 09:33, Anonymous Greg D. said...

Interesting story. Thanks for sharing. I had been wondering why you were called that.

At 14 March, 2006 18:52, Blogger SewAnyway said...

I knew there was a good story behind that! Now we know. Thanks

At 03 August, 2007 01:00, Blogger Kyle said...

Nice story man, I wondered.

At 22 March, 2013 10:13, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a very interesting and not to mention pretty funny story. I initially had to ask because my wife and I are both Marine brats. Both of our fathers attained the rank of E-7, Gunnery Sgt. I myself spent 10 years in the Marine Corps, however only attained the rank of E-6, Staff Sgt. I am on my way to Plano and hope to get a chance to attend your church.


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