official news releases for Gomer Pyle's Promotion
Images taken by USMC Combat Photographers Sgt. Dustin
W. Senger and Cpl. Liz Herrera
Pvt Gomer Pyle
Gets an Official Promotion Lance Corporal
CNN News ... 8 August 2001
Give that Gomer a medal
HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Gomer Pyle's
hard work and honesty are paying off -- finally.
The title character in the popular
sitcom that started airing in 1964 is being promoted to lance corporal
on Thursday (Aug 9, 2001), according to The Associated Press. Jim Nabors,
the actor who played Pyle, is to receive the honor from Gen.
James Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps, at a private ceremony at
Camp H.M. Smith on Oahu.
"I told the general I don't
know if I should accept this -- it's just too much
power," says Nabors, 71. "At this stage of my life, it's almost
too much to think about what it could lead to."
The idea for the promotion came
from Jones when he met Nabors earlier this year, Nabors said.
Jones, Nabors says, "was
laughing about it and said, 'You never even made it past the rank of
private!' He said, `We should really do something about this.'"
Other Marines apparently think
the promotion is long overdue.
"Even though Gomer wasn't
the sharpest knife in the drawer," says Marine spokesman Chuck
Little, "he maintained all the attributes that a Marine is supposed
to have. He was honest, trustworthy and always gave 100 percent."
August 9, 2001 (AP) -- Surprise, surprise, surprise!
After 37 years,
fictional Pfc. Gomer Pyle on Thursday achieved the promotion to lance
corporal that eluded him during five years in the Marine Corps on the
popular television sitcom in the 1960s.
Actor Jim Nabors,
who starred in CBS's "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C," was pinned with the lance
corporal insignia, a PFC stripe with crossed rifles, by Gen. James Jones,
commandant of the Marine Corps.
It took place during
a no-nonsense ceremony on a parade ground at Camp H.M. Smith, headquarters
of the Marine Forces Pacific and the U.S. Pacific Command.
"Sgt. Carter would
be amazed," said Jones, adding that personnel in other services probably
are asking: "What in the world are the Marines doing today?'
Gomer Pyle, the Mayberry service station attendant Nabors created on
"The Andy Griffith Show," had trouble adjusting to the Marine Corps,
he displayed the attributes of a good Marine, Jones said.
"He's honest and embodies
integrity. He is filled with determination. He extensively attempts
to do the right thing in every circumstance. He is selfless ... and
he is loyal to a fault," he said.
Nabors, 71, who lives in
Honolulu, told the 300 Marines and family members attending the ceremony
that reruns of "Gomer Pyle" have given him celebrity with a new generation.
While walking through
O'Hare Airport in Chicago recently, he heard a passing boy say: "Look,
mother, there's an old Gomer Pyle."
Nabors said Gomer
wasn't stupid like many people thought "but actually it was he only
wanted to see the good side of everybody and everything."
"I'm very honored
that Gen. Jones did this. It was a total surprise to me," Nabors said.