It's tough for a movie to portray war well. It's a feeling that can't be captured in words or images, but some directors manage to get pretty close, and make their mark.
Such is the case with Stanley Kubrick's “Full Metal Jacket,” starring real life United States Marine R. Lee Ermey, who managed a promotion even after his career ended.
Ermey was in the Marine Corps for 11 years where he spent time being a drill instructor for troops that spent a couple tours in the Vietnam War.
He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant but soon retired after sustaining injuries in 1971. In 2002, he was granted an honorary promotion, post-military career, to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. This made him the first retired military personnel to be promoted in the history of the Marines.
He studied drama thanks to the help of his G.I. Bill benefits where he was given the feature role in Francis Ford Coppola's “Apocalypse Now.” He may have escaped the the military and war, but his experience makes him the perfect actor to lead fake troops into battle.