“I chose the Marine Corps really because of the symbol:” Army officer officially becomes a Marine private first class

U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Nicholas Brooklier, a former U.S. Army captain, now graduating with Golf Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion marches on the parade deck during a graduation ceremony at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, April 26, 2024. Graduation took place at the completion of the 13-week transformation, which included training for drill, marksmanship, basic combat skills, and Marine Corps customs and traditions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexandra M. Earl)

Meet Nicholas Brooklier, a Los Angeles, California native, former U.S. Army Captain, embarked on a remarkable transition to enlist into the Marine Corps from Recruiting Sub-Station (RSS) Killeen, Recruiting Station Fort Worth, Texas, in January.

On Friday, former Army captain Nicholas Brooklier graduated from boot camp as Marine Pfc. Nicholas Brooklier at Marine Corps Recruiting Depot San Diego in California.

The decision to transition from the Army to the Marine Corps was not one made lightly. Having spent years climbing the ranks and earning the respect of his subordinates, peers, and superiors, the prospect of switching career paths as an enlisted Marine meant relinquishing the comfort of familiarity and embracing the challenges of a fresh beginning.

“I was kind of at a point in my life in the Army where I didn’t feel really fulfilled,” said Brooklier. “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.”

Inspired by the Marine Corps’ motto of Semper Fidelis, “Always Faithful,” Brooklier humbly made the courageous decision to speak with a local Marine Recruiter to begin his transition out of the Army as a commissioned officer, and into the Marine Corps as an enlisted basic Infantryman.

“I chose the Marine Corps really because of the symbol. The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor means a lot to me to try to become a United States Marine,” said Brooklier. “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.”

The journey of transitioning was no easy feat. It began when Brooklier decided not to extend his time in the Army and put his new career in the hands of Staff Sgt. Lafayette Halmon, a Marine Recruiter with RSS Killeen. Halmon worked countless hours to ensure all physical, mental, and paperwork requirements were met for processing to meet the needs and motivators of Brooklier’s career plans of enlisting into the Marine Corps with an Infantry contract. Brooklier intends to later pursue a commission and become an Infantry officer.

“I respected his high-level of commitment and conviction,” said Halmon. “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.”
Finally, after almost a year of preparation and anticipation, Brooklier received the news he had been waiting for – a date to ship out to Marine Corps Recruiting Depot (MCRD) San Diego for basic training as a Marine Recruit.

As Brooklier steps on the Yellow Footprints at MCRD to earn the title Marine, he will serve as a shining example of the Marine Corps’ core values of honor, courage, and commitment as well as embodying espirit de corps and Semper Fidelis.

(U.S. Marine Corps feature story and photos by Cpl. Jaiden O. Sangster)

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