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| Michael P. Ehline

Believe it or Not R Lee Ermey Loved Victory Motorcycles

Most Motards know who the Gunny is, and we also know he was never really a Gunny until he reminded our fathers of how truly unique they are as Vietnam vets. R Lee Ermey was the USMC drill instructor (DI) turned actor drill instructor who woke up Gen X to the shoes they’d have to fill as young men. The Marines actually promoted him to Gunnery Sergeant years after he had already retired. That’s how cool this devil dog was to the Corps.

After playing the Gunny and making Private Pyle famous, he became a History Channel icon for even my kids on the hit show, “Lock N Load.”

But like Chesty loved horses as a horse Marine, Ermey was all about his motorcycles. But it was not just any motorcycle that Gunny loved. Let me give you some context so you can understand why so many veteran Victory motorcycle owners are so proud of their Full Metal Jacket Gunny bikes or Harley Davidson versions. I had to go through a bit of boot camp to understand this custom motorcycle brand made more famous by the iconic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. [“maggot’]The connection between the US military and the world of motorcycles is powerful, especially for so many Harley riders who trace their roots through Sonny Barger.

No matter the branch you served in, Motorcycles symbolize freedom, adventure, and a sense of camaraderie, much like the values upheld by the United States Marine Corps. This article explores the inspiring partnership between the new Victory Motorcycles and the Rolling Thunder Ride in Washington, DC, and how, along with the Gunny, it inspired student riders who aspired to join the US Marines after they got out.

The Significance of the Rolling Thunder Ride And Hartman

The Rolling Thunder Ride is an annual motorcycle rally held in Washington, DC, to honor and raise awareness for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing-in-action (MIA) service members. The ride attracts thousands of motorcyclists from across the country who gather to pay their respects and show support for those who have made sacrifices for their country. Gunny Hartman’s prior role as the star of “Siege of Firebase Gloria” (one of the best movies ever) is all I need to know why he was locked and loaded for this event.

Why R Lee Ermey Liked Victory Motorcycles

R. Lee Ermey, known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the film “Full Metal Jacket,” was an avid motorcycle enthusiast and a well-known supporter of Victory Motorcycles. Ermey’s love for Victory Motorcycles stemmed from several factors that resonated with his personal preferences and values.

  1. American Made: Victory Motorcycles is an American motorcycle brand that prides itself on manufacturing motorcycles on American soil. As a Marine Corps veteran, Ermey deeply appreciated American-made products and the values they represented—Victory’s deep commitment to producing high-quality motorcycles in the United States aligned with Ermey’s patriotic spirit.
  2. Classic and Powerful Design: Victory Motorcycles offers a range of models with classic and powerful designs. Ermey, who had a passion for motorcycles and a love for the open road, was attracted to the unique styling and performance of Victory Motorcycles. Their bikes exuded a sense of strength and power that resonated with Ermey’s bold personality.
  3. Reliability and Performance: Ermey, a former Marine drill instructor, valued reliability and performance. Victory Motorcycles were known for their durability and dependable performance, making them suitable for long rides and various terrains. Ermey appreciated the robustness of Victory Motorcycles and trusted their machines to deliver a smooth and powerful riding experience.
  4. Connection to the Military: Victory Motorcycles actively supported the military and its veterans. The brand collaborated with organizations such as the Armed Forces Foundation and participated in events like the Rolling Thunder Ride, which honored veterans and promoted awareness of their sacrifices. Ermey, a proud supporter of the military and veterans’ causes, appreciated Victory Motorcycles’ commitment to the armed forces.
  5. Sense of Adventure and Freedom: Motorcycles represent a sense of adventure and freedom on the open road, and Ermey embraced these qualities. Victory Motorcycles allowed him to experience the thrill of riding and explore new destinations. The freedom and excitement that motorcycles offered were in line with Ermey’s adventurous spirit and love for exploration.

In summary, R. Lee Ermey’s affinity for Victory Motorcycles can be attributed to the brand’s American heritage, classic design, reliability, performance, support for the military, and the sense of adventure and freedom that motorcycles represent. Ermey’s personal values and preferences align with the qualities exhibited by Victory Motorcycles, making them a natural choice for the passionate motorcycle enthusiast and Marine Corps veteran.

Victory Motorcycles and their Support

Victory Motorcycles, a renowned motorcycle manufacturer, has a long-standing tradition of supporting the US military and its events. The company recognizes the importance of honoring and respecting the brave men and women who serve in the armed forces. As a result, the company has been a strong supporter of the Rolling Thunder Ride, providing resources and motorcycles and organizing events to enhance the experience for participants further.

Inspiring Student Riders

For students who dream of joining the US Marines and are also passionate about motorcycles, the partnership between this builder and the Rolling Thunder Ride can serve as a powerful source of inspiration. It showcases the values of patriotism, service, and brotherhood that are integral to both the military and motorcycle culture.

Freedom and Adventure on Two Wheels

Motorcycles represent a sense of freedom and adventure that resonates with many student riders. The thrill of the open road, the feeling of the wind against their faces, and the sense of control are all part of the motorcycle experience. Joining the US Marines allows individuals to embrace a similar spirit of freedom and adventure as they serve their country and face challenges head-on.

Camaraderie and Brotherhood

The bond between members of the US Marines and motorcycle riders is built on camaraderie and brotherhood. Both groups emphasize the importance of trust, teamwork, and supporting one another. The military instills these values through rigorous training, while motorcycle clubs foster a sense of community and shared experiences. By joining the Corps, student riders can find themselves part of a larger brotherhood that extends beyond the motorcycle community.

Service and Sacrifice

The US Marines are renowned for their dedication to service and sacrifice. They put their lives on the line to protect and defend their country. Similarly, motorcycle riders who participate in events like the Rolling Thunder Ride show their commitment to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for their nation. Joining the US Marines allows student riders to take their commitment to service to a higher level and make a profound impact on the lives of others.

Upholding Values and Integrity

Both the US Marines and the motorcycle community value integrity, honor, and a strong work ethic. The Marines are known for their unwavering commitment to upholding these values, which are also embraced by responsible and ethical riders. By joining the US Marines, student riders can further develop and embody these values, becoming exemplary individuals who serve as role models both on and off their motorcycles.

Pushing Boundaries and Personal Growth

Joining the US Marines and embracing the world of motorcycles can push student riders to step outside their comfort zones and achieve personal growth. Both endeavors require determination, resilience, and the ability to overcome challenges. Through military training and the pursuit of motorcycling skills, student riders can discover their true potential and develop valuable life skills that will shape their character and benefit them in various aspects of their lives.

  1. Leadership Development: Joining the Corps and participating in motorcycle riding requires strong leadership qualities. In the Marines, individuals are trained to lead, make critical decisions, and take responsibility for their actions. Similarly, motorcycle riding demands leadership skills as riders must navigate through traffic, assess risks, and make split-second decisions. By combining the experiences of military leadership training and motorcycling, student riders can enhance their ability to lead and inspire others.
  2. Discipline and Self-Motivation: Both the US Marines and motorcycle riding demand discipline and self-motivation. Strict adherence to rules, protocols, and physical fitness standards is crucial in the military. Similarly, mastering the art of motorcycle riding requires discipline in following safety procedures, maintaining the bike, and continuously improving riding skills. By embracing these disciplines, student riders can cultivate self-motivation, dedication, and a strong work ethic that will serve them well in their academic pursuits and future careers.
  3. Resilience and Adaptability: The US Marines and motorcycle riding expose individuals to unpredictable situations. Marines are trained to adapt to various environments, overcome obstacles, and thrive under pressure. Similarly, motorcycle riders must be prepared for changing road conditions, unexpected obstacles, and adverse weather conditions. Through these experiences, student riders can develop resilience, adaptability, and the ability to remain calm and focused in the face of adversity.
  4. Teamwork and Collaboration: The US Marines emphasize the importance of teamwork and collaboration in achieving shared objectives. As part of a motorcycle club or riding group, student riders will also experience the power of teamwork as they plan group rides, support fellow riders, and navigate together on the road. By working collaboratively with others, student riders can enhance their communication skills, learn to trust and rely on teammates, and understand the importance of collective effort in achieving goals.
  5. Risk Assessment and Consciousness: Safety is paramount in US Marines and motorcycle riding. Marines are trained to assess risks, follow safety protocols, and prioritize the well-being of themselves and their team. Similarly, responsible motorcycle riders prioritize safety by wearing appropriate protective gear, maintaining their motorcycles, and constantly improving their riding skills. By integrating the safety consciousness instilled in the military with motorcycle riding, student riders can become safety-conscious individuals who value their own well-being and that of others.
  6. Sense of Community and Service: Both the US Marines and motorcycle clubs foster a sense of community and service as well as troubleshooting things with other enthusiasts. Marines work together as a unit, supporting and looking out for one another, even in a crowd. Motorcycle clubs create a community of riders who share a common passion and support each other on and off the road. By joining the US Marines, student riders can extend their sense of community and service, actively contributing to something greater than themselves.
  7. Cultural Understanding and Respect: The Leathernecks embrace diversity and foster cultural understanding among their ranks. Similarly, the motorcycle community is comprised of riders from different backgrounds, cultures, and walks of life. By being part of these diverse communities, of which the author is a part of, student riders can develop a broader perspective, respect for different cultures, and the ability to collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds as contributors to the USMC history and order of battle.
  8. Personal Growth and Character Development: Joining the US Marines and engaging in motorcycle riding provide personal growth and character development opportunities. Both experiences challenge individuals to push their limits, develop resilience, and cultivate qualities such as integrity, courage, and perseverance. By embarking on these journeys, student riders can undergo transformative personal growth, building a strong character that will serve them well as they wanted when they joined.

In conclusion, the partnership between Victory Motorcycles and the Rolling Thunder Ride exemplifies the connection between the US military and the world of motorcycles. For student riders who aspire to join the US Marines, this partnership can inspire people to embrace the R Lee Ermey legacy of duty, honor, and country.

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