The claim comes from Quora.com. One of the answer to the question "How accurate is the portrayal of the Marine Corps boot camp in Full Metal Jacket?" reads as follows:

Full Metal Jacket opened in the United States on June 26, 1987. A Marine four-star named Alfred M. Gray, Jr., was in attendance.

Six days later, General Gray was installed as the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps. (General Gray is the only Commandant to wear the Utility Uniform in his official portrait.) One of the first things he did was to investigate the boot camps at Parris Island and San Diego to see if they were really as brutal as the one in that movie.

He was not happy to receive the report: “Sir…if anything, they’re worse.”

Large parts of the USMC boot camp Program of Instruction were altered at General Gray’s direction. Under Gen. Gray they created the end-of-course test called The Crucible.

Call Full Metal Jacket a “period piece.” It is what it is, but it’s not what we now have.

(link to that particular answer)

Did General Alfred M. Gray, Jr. order to investigate and subsequently alter USMC recruits' training program as a result of the publication of Full Metal Jacket?

  • 5
    Anedoctal, I was there in bootcamp in August of 1987 and the scene was pretty spot-on, I missed the crucible by a few months. At the time, I did not think it was an issue but what was expected. I still get a tingle when I watch the movie and remember it as a proud moment. Just like in the movie, there was a moment close to the end when we all came together and were beyond the control of the DI's and felt like true Marines. Do the Marines going into boot camp now feel the same? Was the brutality important? Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 20:40
  • 7
    A quick wikipedia check suggests that the story is at least plausible. General Gray was installed a small number of days after the date offered for movie opening, and did apparently oversee a major rebuild of the marine corps training process.
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 20:49
  • 2
    Are you asking about the timeline of events? Or about General Gray's motivation? We can't really speak to his motivation.
    – ff524
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 21:56
  • 1
    I've never seen that movie, but I did go through USMC boot camp (Parris Island variety) in the early '70s, and I would not describe it as brutal.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 4:29
  • 1
    I think at the time the movie came out, I recall comments to the effect that the use of that kind of profanity, at the very least, had been (technically) barred for quite some time. How that translated into actual practice, no idea. If you asked Mr Ermey to do it without any swear words, I suspect he'd be able to pull it off with equal, if not greater, creative flair. Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 15:05


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