In 1970, John Quinlan was born in Morristown, New Jersey, to Robert Quinlan, a retired Army major, and Kathleen Quinlan. He grew up in Phoenix, Maryland, and graduated from Dulaney High School. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Nov. 4, 1987.
He attended basic avionics technician training at Naval Air Station Millington, Tennessee. After, Quinlan attended F/A-18 Hornet avionics and electronic countermeasures training at NAS Lemoore, California.
From October 1989 to March 1993, Quinlan served at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 32, Marine Aircraft Group 32 of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. He then deployed aboard the USS Nassau (LHA-4) for Operation Desert Shield in August 1990 and Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. He later transferred to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14, Marine Aircraft Group 14. Quinlan then deployed aboard the assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) for Operations Restore Hope and Continue Hope in Somalia in March 1993.
In March 1995, Quinlan cross-trained as a C-130 Hercules loadmaster at MCAS Cherry Point and then served as a KC-130J airborne radio operator and loadmaster with Marine Transport Squadron 352 (VMR-352), Marine Aircraft Group 11 of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS El Toro, California.
In January 1997, he deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit to Kuwait for Operation Vigilant Sentinel. On Sept. 23, 1997, Quinlan honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps to join the U.S. Army. The following day, Quinlan began the U.S. Army Warrant Officer training program and commissioned a warrant officer on Nov. 26, 1997.
Next, Quinlan embarked on Rotary Wing Aviator training, the Aviation Warrant Officer Basic Course, the Electronic Warrant Officer Course and CH-47D Chinook training. Subsequently, he served from July 1999 to July 2000 as a CH-47D pilot with B Company, 2nd Battalion of the 52nd Aviation Regiment at Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
Additionally, Quinlan served as a CH-47D pilot and instructor pilot with B Company, 2nd Battalion of the 159th Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, from August 2000 to February 2004, and then as an MH-47E pilot with B Company, 2nd Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He deployed to Afghanistan five times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and then deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On Feb. 18, 2007, Quinlan died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery and survived by his wife Julie and their three daughters: Keely, Maddy and Erin.
We honor his service.
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Fact checker: Kinsley Ballas