December 20, 2018 4:53 pm
At age 20, Pierce College alum Tyler Brownfield is the youngest officer currently serving in the entire United States Marine Corps – and maybe ever.
“The historical record is maybe not complete,” he says modestly, “but they tell me they think I’m the youngest officer in the history of the Marines.”
Raised in Puyallup, Brownfield is now stationed near “the other Washington” in Quantico, Virginia. He was commissioned into the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant in May 2018, following his graduation from Gonzaga University.
“I grew up in a Marine Corps family,” said Brownfield. “My Dad was a Marine. He has a huge sense of pride and camaraderie from his time in the Marines. My Dad has always been my biggest role model so I was interested in serving from a young age.”
Brownfield went to Puyallup’s Emerald Ridge High School and attended Pierce College as a Running Start student from 2015 through 2016. After graduating from Pierce College with an associate’s degree, he completed his four-year degree at Gonzaga University, where he majored in Political Science.
In the summers of his junior and senior years at Gonzaga, he attended the Marine Corps Officers Candidate School in Quantico. After being commissioned in May 2018, Brownfield went through Basic School, a six-month training course for officers. Next, he will complete a 13-week Infantry Officer course before being assigned to a post to serve his four-year tour of duty. He’s hoping to be posted to the West Coast, closer to home.
Brownfield says the Running Start program at Pierce College helped accelerate his journey to becoming a Marine. “Running Start helped me advance toward my goals quicker,” he said. “It enabled me to do this faster and save time and money.
“I had a lot of friends who also did Running Start. While I took a full course load at Pierce, I still took a couple of classes at the high school, which helped me maintain ties there. I would recommend that to anyone doing Running Start.”
Recently, Brownfield was invited to participate in a hallowed Marine Corps tradition — a ball commemorating the birthday of the unit’s Commandant, during which the oldest and youngest serving officers are asked to cut the cake. “It was such an honor to take part in that tradition,” he said.
“My favorite thing about being in the Marines is the sense of brotherhood and family that it offers,” said Brownfield. “Everyone is always there for you, no matter what.” He also enjoys the daily physical challenges that come with staying in peak shape.
Brownfield cherishes his home town roots. “I’m super grateful to have my family and friends behind me, supporting me all the way.”