USA Cossacks Meet USA Marines Print E-mail
Written by Sotnik Edward   
Tuesday, 01 April 2008



USA Cossacks Ataman General, Serge Tsapenkeo, created a Cossack exhibition at the 'Show of Shows' Military Show in Lousiville Kentucky, While there he met some great US WWII veterans and heros. Among them was the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Jack H. Lucas who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, and Ted Van Kirk, who was the pilot navigator of the Enola Gay bomber who navigated the crew to their target in Hiroshima and ended the war with Japan. Also, many other famous veterans were there. The Ataman had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with one of the most famous and enigmatic US veterans known in the USA, US Marine Drill instructor R. Lee Ermey.

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Jack H Lucas - Medal of Honor
Ted Van Kirk - Navigator- Enola Gay

R. Lee, or "Gunny", as he likes to be called, is mostly known as a Movie actor and the host of the History Channel weekly TV show called 'Mail Call'. R.Lee is also a Vietnam war veteran and was a real life drill instructor for US. Marines. R.Lee is a strong supporter of our US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq along with US Cossacks. R. Lee become notorious from his role in the Hollywood movie called Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now. He gave a blistering performance in Full Metal jacket and introduced audience intimately and personally to Basic Training as a US Marine recruit. Here is a version in Russian of a scene from Full Metal Jacket.

Ataman had a delightful and invigorating meeting with R.Lee and gave the Ataman a personal Challenge Coin. This is a great honor and is a sign of respect. A US military member who gives their unit's coin to another soldier is an invitation of brotherhood. This also means that another member can challenge you at any time to make sure that have this coin with you at all times. It's a strong US Military tradition that dates back to a World War I legend.

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R. Lee Ermey Challenge Coin

When an American pilot was shot down over German occupied France During WWI, he was captured by German forces and all his identity and personal belongings were taken away from him except for a leather pouch he had around his neck. He later escaped in Civilian clothes and tried to flee back to his unit but was then captured by French forces who thought he was a German saboteur. He was being prepared for execution when he produced the only thing he had on him, a coin with his unit's insignia. This prevented him from being executed by the French and luckily he was returned safely to his unit. Since then all unit followed this tradition to carry their unit's coins with them at all times. In order to enforce this tradition, another member can challenge you at anytime to show them produce your coin in front of them on the spot. In turn they must also show theirs. Some of the penalties for not having your coin on you can be severe, One of the worst punishments is being indebted to buying many rounds of alcoholic beverages to be consumed at your expense as well as enduring a long evening of ridicule chastising. The Ataman promised to have this on him the next time they meet. We shall see! R. Lee has his own entertaining personal website at and has a colorful introduction before entering his site. I'm sure Cossacks are welcome to visit. Love of Freedom is a shared trait.




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Cossacks USA 2006