A former Army officer has relinquished his captain’s bars to enlist in the Marine Corps.

“I was kind of at a point in my life in the Army where I didn’t feel really fulfilled,” Nicholas Brooklier said in a Marine Corps news story. “So, it was either get out and go to the civilian world, and to be honest, I did not want to do that. I felt like my time in the service wasn’t over. I just felt like I needed a change in my environment.”

Now, Brooklier is scheduled to graduate from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on Friday and enter follow-on  infantry training.. Ultimately, he told the Marines, he hopes to earn his commission and become a Marine infantry officer.

Brooklier is far from the first soldier to switch to the Marine Corps (and many Marines are known to go Army, as well, including Special Forces Medal of Honor recipient Msgt. Early Plumlee). But the fact that as a commissioned officer,  he was willing to start over as an enlisted service member to reboot his military career makes his case rare – but not unheard of. After World War I, British Army Col. T.E. Lawrence ended his military career by serving as an enlisted soldier and airman in the Royal Air Force.

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Originally from Los Angeles, Brooklier was commissioned in 2018 through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Washington State University, according to the Army. He entered the service as a transportation corps officer and left as a logistician.

Rather than extend his contract in the Army, Brooklier decided to earn his Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. The process of transitioning from the Army to the Marine Corps began when he visited Recruiting Sub-Station Killeen in Texas. There he met Staff Sgt. Lafayette Halmon, a recruiter, according to the Marines

“I respected his high-level of commitment and conviction,” Halmon said. “It was a slow process, but he was willing to step backwards, basically from scratch, to move forward and earn his way into the Marine Corps. It motivated me in a way to put in the work for him and give him the opportunity to earn his title.”

It took nearly a year of preparations before Brooklier shipped out to step on the Yellow Footprints that await all Marine recruits as soon as they get off the bus at boot camp.

Brooklier arrived at MCRD San Diego in January and two weeks ago completed The Crucible, Marine recruit training’s capstone event. The multi-day field exercise culminates in Marines having their Eagle, Globe, and Anchors pressed into their hands, according to Marine Recruit Depot San Diego.

“I chose the Marine Corps really because of the symbol,” Brooklier said. “The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor means a lot to me to try to become a United States Marine. I also realized that the Marine Corps is the nation’s premier 9-1-1 Crisis Response Force, and that gave me a lot of purpose in my life, to continue down that path.”

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