A Marine officer finished as the runner-up of the popular quiz game show “Jeopardy!” on Monday after wagering his entire amount in the final round.

Cpt. Tyler Vandenberg still won $50,000 with his second-place finish, however, during the finale of the multi-stage Champions Wildcard tournament. Vandenberg just missed out on a spot in the upcoming Tournament of Champions, where contestants face off against their fellow multi-game winning competitors.

The Marine officer from Washington, D.C., who is based in Stuttgart, Germany, previously appeared on the show, where he shared he also served, albeit briefly, as a firefighter.

“I was down in the Marine Corps Reserve,” Vandenberg said during his time on the show in July 2021. “I volunteered with the state of California to go up to the north state and be a firefighter. I got accepted, I got into the program, I got a barracks, I had a team, I went all the way up there, I started my training and 48 hours later I got a call from the military. They say, ‘We need you to go to training, come down off the mountain.’”

Others connected to the armed forces have also found themselves on the stage made famous by longtime host Alex Trebek, including a Naval Postgraduate School associate professor with a remarkable resemblance to comedian Steve Martin.

Vandenberg’s recent time on the beloved game show came amid news that one of its hosts, Mayim Bialik, will no longer remain in her role. Ken Jennings, who Bialik was splitting host duties with, will now be the sole face of “Jeopardy!”

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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