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Mail Call, hosted by veteran actor and Marine R.Lee Ermey, is a series that deals with questions that viewers have about the five branches of the United States and World Armed forces. All five (which are the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) are dealt with as well as civilian fighting forces, rebel groups and other active militants during wartime.

The episodes begin with Ermey driving into the camp and then proceeding to answer questions that viewers write into ask. Ermey does this in the style of his Full Metal Jacket character, which is fitting given the questions that the show is answering. Questions on the show can vary from "What tanks did the Nazis use at the battle of the bulge?" to "Did the Japanese soldiers during World War II seriously use bamboo planes?" Ermey then answers the questions by providing commentary to a clip.

Sometimes, if the question involves a firearm, Ermey will give a demonstration by firing it at watermelons (Ermey was a drill and weapons instructor during his time in the marines, so he really knows how guns and ammo should be cared for) Ermey also will sometimes demonstrate how to drive tanks and other vehicles if the question is asked on how to do so. Normally when he drives this, Ermey will make a comment describing the vehicle using female terms.

Before and after the commercial breaks the show will cut to Ermey dressed in full drill instructor uniform (as another homage to Ermey's background as both an armed forces and Hollywood Drill instructor) who will then yell into the camera at the viewer to sit tight, usually throwing some insult at the reviewer, Full Metal Jacket style.

Mail Call is a History Documentary & Biography series that is currently running and has 8 seasons (122 episodes). The series first aired on August 4, 2002. It has mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.2.

Mail Call is available for streaming on the History website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Mail Call on demand at Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, History Vault, The Roku Channel online.

Sunday 10:00 PM et/pt on History
8 Seasons, 122 Episodes
August 4, 2002
History Documentary & Biography
Cast: R. Lee Ermey
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Mail Call Full Episode Guide

  • Shot on location at Hurlburt Field, Florida, R. Lee Ermey answers viewer questions about this historic piece of real estate with a focus on Air Force Special Operations and hardware.

  • Ermey flies high in a P-51 and P-47; examines Marine gear during WWII; rides in a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor; bids farewell to the Navy F-14 Tomcat; and shows off his own most famous SNAFUs.

  • Ermey rides an M8 Armored car; demos the Mauser C96 pistol; overviews German weapons, gear and gadgets during WWII, and explores the history of canine warriors, from WWI, through today.

  • A trip to the Tennessee Museum of Aviation to see the P-51s and P-47s. Also: the battle gear used by Marines in World War II; a ride in a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor; and a tribute to the Navy's F-14 Tomcat.

  • Included: a ride in a World War II M8 armored car; a demonstration of the Mauser C96 pistol; an overview of the weapons and gear used by German soldiers during World War II; and the history of the use of dogs in war.

  • The eighth-season finale focuses on the war in Iraq. Included: R. Lee Ermey talks to the troops, via satellite. Also: a look at the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System in Atlanta, which provides information on military operations; and a tribute to an Army corporal who was killed in Iraq.

  • Polaris MV and Textron M1117 vehicles are test driven. Also: trigger time with an M4 Carbine and a Beretta M9; and a look at a rugged flashlight and a laptop.

  • A tour of a military training center in San Diego to observe tactics training against insurgents in a simulated Iraqi village. Also: weapons of the British in the Revolutionary War; the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which accounts for American POWs and missing and unidentified servicemen and women.

  • A tour of Florida's Hurlburt Field, home of the Air Force Special Operations Command, to check out its hardware and history. Included: car-bomb and explosives-detection training; and a ride in the AC-130 gunship. Also: officer candidates "Hell Week."

  • In the eighth-season premiere, R. Lee Ermey visits the National Museum of the United States Air Force at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Included: the history of the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter; a reunion of former Vietnam War POWs. Also: the B-25 Mitchell bomber.

  • Host R. Lee Ermey visits Fort Knox, Ky.; a Recon Officer training course is run with Special Ops Army scouts. Also: a profile of George S. Patton; a vintage Vietnam-era M40 Ontos tank.

  • R. Lee Ermey's favorite weapons and best explosions are featured in clips from past episodes_4-18.

  • Iwo Jima veterans recall the battle for the island in interviews. Included: color footage of the invasion.

  • Included: a vintage Colt Model 1895 automatic machine gun; and Wire Dawgs. Also: a segment on Medal of Honor recipient Maynard Snuffy Smith.

  • A commemoration of VJ Day, Aug. 14, 1945, includes a tour of the USS Missouri, where Gen. Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender; and answers to questions regarding the battle in the Pacific.

  • The Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Ky., is toured. Also: the Cayuse OH-6A Helicopter.

  • Host R. Lee Ermey travels to Vietnam for the first time since he left in 1969, when he served in Marine Wing Support Group 17. "The Gunny" recalls memories and visits famous sites such as Khe San, Hanoi and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

  • A tour of the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Cal. Included: a review of the greatest amphibious invasions. Also: the Colt Peacemaker; Merrill's Marauders.

  • A tour of the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Cal. Included: the Bradley Fighting Vehicle; and the M9 Armored Combat Earthmover.

  • Included: U.S. Marine Raiders at the Battle of Guadalcanal; the USMC Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit; the "Rough Riders" of the Spanish-American War. Also: a trip to Camp Pendleton.

  • A trip to the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Cal., to examine the training of firefighters. Also: the history of napalm; Marine Corps martial-arts training; the Nambu pistol.

  • Examining the military's involvement in rescue and cleanup efforts in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Included: a ride with an Air Force Pararescue team; Marine door-to-door searches and water-main repairs; patrolling with the 82nd Airborne. Also: a history of the military's response to natural disasters.

  • Included: 16th-century German weapons. Also: the history of the American Forces Network; a demonstration of the Luger P-08; and a salute to World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin.

  • R. Lee Ermey visits Coronado Naval Base in California; checks out a LARC, a floating tow-truck; and travels to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, Cal. Also: the origins of the word "hooch."

  • The seventh season begins with a trip to Camp Pendleton in California, where R. Lee Ermey tests an MK-19 grenade launcher. Also: Russian weapons and tactics during World War II; the Vertijet, vertical take-off aircraft.