Brian Bruns served in the U.S. Army for five years before enrolling at Pierce College Puyallup.
His role as a special electronic device repairer included fixing mine detectors, night vision devices, radios and other equipment.
Bruns explained why he chose to enlist, saying he was at a crossroads in his life.
“I was 21 with a GED, no car and no money for college. There were plenty of other reasons, but mostly it came down to what I thought would be the best long-term choice for me,” Bruns said.
Bruns recalled he knew the only way he would be able to attend to college would be to serve four years in the military.
After joining the Army, Bruns was deployed to Mosul, Iraq, where he served in the Brigade Support Battalion, First Brigade, 25th Infantry Division from October 2004 to October 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom III. He was scheduled to be discharged in November 2004, but his unit was stop-lossed and he expected to serve an extra 11 months. His service ended Dec. 31, 2005.
Bruns described his transition from military life to life as a Pierce student as not being too difficult. He had taken classes through Pierce while he was on active duty at what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord, so he was comfortable with the system.
Bruns explained how he transitioned to Pierce after being honorably discharged from the military.
“I had worked a couple of different jobs after getting out, but once they passed the Post 9/11 GI Bill in 2009, I knew I had to go back to school and use my benefits,” Bruns said.
He earned his Direct Transfer Agreement at Pierce College in 2011 and is now majoring in communications at Pacific Lutheran University.
Bruns says Pierce College is a veteran-friendly school.
“Paula Edelman at the Puyallup campus is great at getting the vets what they need and that whole office always is ready to help in any way,” he said. “Pierce College does a great job of offering a lot of night courses, activities that are catered to older demographics and the whole system is really accessible for incoming veteran students. They make it pretty easy.”
Bruns, originally from Tallahassee, Fla., is married with two sons.
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