Navy Lt. Peter Quinn has big plans for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
For the last 60 days, the 1985 Shenendehowa graduate has been in D.C. preparing as part of the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region. His appointment to the task force, which coordinates all military support for the inauguration, has him arranging the security, transportation and support for the Department of Defense to get people back and forth from the events safely.
“I’m a big believer, especially today with the times going on, just to be able to facilitate the peaceful transfer of power,” Quinn said. “When you’re in it, you don’t really [reflect] on it. But later on, hopefully we’ll be able to look back and say, ‘That was different.’ And there’s some connectivity to the events that are going on that make your service more valuable.”
The honor, for Quinn, is a “humbling” one. He grew up in Clifton Park looking up to his father and uncles who served in the military. When it came time for him to decide on his future after graduating from high school, they gave him some much-needed guidance.
“A lot of that generation didn’t didn’t really talk about it as much as I wish they had,” Quinn said. “And I’ve learned a lot more about what they did afterwards. I didn’t know what I wanted to do [after high school]. So in talking with them then, I got some advice and some counsel. And my mom was dead set against it. But through talking with them and their experiences with things, that became an opportunity worth pursuing.”
The decision was worthwhile. In his 34 years of military service, with his most recent role being an officer for Joint Team-Special Events, Quinn has found a passion in conducting repatriations for deceased service members. And when he’s not serving, the RPI graduate is operating four sandwich restaurants at his new home in Cincinnati or spending time with his family and three children. He calls it the “three-legged stool” of his life.
“But [with this current assignment], I talked with my family, I was able to work the details and they’re fully supportive of it,” Quinn said. “And the nice thing about being in the U.S. is that they’ve been able to come in and do a couple of trips to DC and see what daddy does. So it’s been a little bit enriching that way, as well.”
Asked if he feels his role is more important this year than it would be during previous inaugurations given possible armed protests taking place in Washington during the days leading up to the event, Quinn said it doesn’t impact how he perceives his role.
“My role is just getting people back and forth,” Quinn said. “But I can’t speak about that. I think it’s relevant and my kids and I, just based on the news, are able to conversate about ‘what does it mean.’”
In terms of what he hopes he can take away from the honor, Quinn said he’s only looking forward.
“I don’t look backwards, I just look forward and I look forward to supporting the new commander in chief in any endeavor that he does as a military person,” Quinn said.