The Musical Secret On R. Lee Ermey Avenue

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Famed actor R. Lee Ermey built a larger-than-life persona in film as a brash and aggressive Marine Corps drill sergeant. In real life, he obtained the rank of staff sergeant while serving in Vietnam, which the USMC honorarily upgraded to gunnery sergeant in 2002.

Ermey’s being upgraded once more.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
R. Lee Ermey signs an autograph for Lance Cpl. Jay Clayton, assigned to U.S. 3rd Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company, 4th Platoon, at the Freedom Souq gymnasium at U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain.


Avenue N, a 7-mile highway engineered to play the Marine Corps hymn in tire vibrations as automobiles drive over grooves in the concrete, has been renamed to “R. Lee Ermey Avenue (Avenue N),” Stripes reports. The stretch runs between Agena Road and Sierra Highway in Palmdale, Calif., near where Ermey lived for 24 years before he passed away in April 2018.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Gunnery Sgt. Elias Guy speaks with R. Lee Ermey in the well deck aboard USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3).


Ermey’s friends and family will pay for the memorial, which they have started to raise with the helpof an online funding campaign.

A ceremony dedicating the musical highway to Ermey was held on the Marine Corps’ birthday, Nov. 10.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Ermey hands Cpl. Trevor J. Blackburn, assigned to Battalion Landing Team 2/6, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a small American flag aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7).

Throughout his life, Ermey has been seen by many as a tough-as-nails Marine, but in real life, he was a caring and generous humanitarian, who even went so far as to dress up as Santa Claus each year for Toys for Tots and The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Drivers along the newly named R. Lee Ermey Avenue will hear something a little like this as they pass over the specially designed grooves on the shoulder.

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There are a few other roads in the U.S. that also “play music,” including one in New Mexico that plays “America the Beautiful.”

Turn your volume up and listen to the video below to hear the music!

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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