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Retired Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey talks with Sgt. Andrew Jacobson, a tank commander with Company C, 1st Tank Battalion, before they set out to the training areas of the Combat Center April 13 where Ermey filmed part of an episode for his new show, “Lock n’ Load.”

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Handeland

"Lock n’ Load" hooks up with Tanks

15 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Retired Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey and his crew visited 1st Tank Battalion at the Combat Center April 13 through 15 to shoot footage for his new show, “Lock n’ Load,” on the History Channel.

The Combat Center was the best place to shoot the episode, for multiple reasons, Ermey said.

“We did away with “Mail Call” and came out with our new show, now the crew is here shooting 1st Tanks,” Ermey said.

The episode is going to follow the history of the tank, so it was vital to talk about the tank used on today’s battlefield, the M1–A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank.

“This episode had to have the Abrams in it; it’s about the history of tanks,” he said. “The most recent generation should be the best one of all the tanks.”

Ermey said he could not wait for the training to begin and get footage of the battalion.

“We’re going to film the best part of the episode here,” he said. “Twentynine Palms is the best place for training.”

Ermey said he has been to Twentynine Palms many times before, but he still has fun every time.

“It’s always something new out here for us,” he said. “There’s a huge amount of space for the Marines to train in, which gives us a lot of stuff to shoot and experience out here.”

After experiencing the oldest operating tank in existence before coming to the Combat Center, Ermey noticed the benefits of the modern tank.

“Being a tanker wasn’t glamorous back in the day,” he said. “The old tanks used to overheat after an hour and only went four miles per hour. The tank now is much more powerful in the gun and the engine. The tankers may not agree with me, but it’s a lot roomier as well.”

Marines going through the exercise got a break from their work to see Ermey and got a chance to be on the History Channel.

Lance Cpl. Tyler Roberts, a tank driver with Company C, 1st Tanks, said he had meeting Ermey on his “list of 10 things to do while in the Marine Corps.”

“I just thought it was going to be us out here doing platoon training,” Roberts, a Grand Junction, Colo., native said. “This is a good time for them to come out, there is a lot of moving and firing with the tank platoons.”

Roberts said the chance to be on the History Channel is going to get him through the rest of their training.

“This is a once in a lifetime chance,” he said.  “It’s going to be a nice break from just driving a tank.”

The new show is expected to air in July.


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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms