In Fords in Four, we ask an alumnus four questions; he shares insights and stories. In this blog post, Peter Quinn '95, Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, discusses his military career and his work supporting combat veterans. Quinn currently serves as the Deputy Chief for Defense Intelligence Agency Liaison Berlin in Germany.
1. Note a memorable Haverford experience or faculty member.
In my time, the faculty at Haverford was the Haverford experience. All shaped my experience for the better. Today, I still observe history according to Brownlow, write according to Hallowell, read critically according to Erskine, build according to Chamberlain, and paint with the freedom of Fox and Kinney. However, I will never forget how Heed showed me the power of determination or how Nostrant's leadership example shaped and carried me far beyond the Naval Academy.
2. You joined the Navy right after attending Haverford. How has your military service impacted your life and career?
On Nostrant's recommendation, I met with the Navy lacrosse coach the spring of my V Form - that meeting set my course for the past 20 years (and the next three). The Naval Academy experience and my career in the Navy has been one of constant opportunity and challenge. In the Navy, I have played Division I lacrosse, skippered sailboats offshore, flown fighter jets, and learned the full extent of our country's intelligence capabilities. My life in the Navy has been both interesting and ever changing for both me and my family.
3. Why did you found U.S. PATRIOT Sailing and what are its goals to support combat veterans and wounded warriors?
I founded U.S. PATRIOT Sailing
to offer wounded and combat veterans the opportunity to benefit from their shared camaraderie while they engage in a dynamic life sport that includes most elements of military life and small unit teamwork. The end goal is to afford younger veterans the opportunity to set new goals; to again achieve mission success with fellow veterans; and to converse with others who have successfully navigated the challenges of life after warfare and who have found a path to success and healthful living after their experience. While I was motivated to help people close to me, I envisioned from the start that U.S. PATRIOT Sailing will be a program to support veterans of all conflicts and ages - as the bond of soldiers never dies - their experience understood only by those who share it. I believe it prudent to ensure our veterans get the best support possible to transition to a successful "civilian life" after their service and sacrifice on our behalf.
4. What is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work?
Most expect me to say "landing F/A-18s on carriers" - but actually being "in the arena" on the intelligence and diplomatic front has been the most exciting and rewarding experience of my career. As a young intelligence professional, I had the responsibility of writing for presidential decisions. Now as a diplomat in Germany, I engage with our partners on issues of international security and policy. I have had to learn to confidently make decisions in highly ambiguous situations, often armed with limited information - it definitely keeps my blood flowing!
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