John W. Quinn

Raising the Bar on Inclusion, Diversity and Service

John W. Quinn was born in Detroit, Michigan; one of eight children. Although diagnosed at a young age with cerebral palsy, John developed a strong desire to serve his country and wear the uniform of his nation. So, in spite of his partial paralysis, two different sized feet, and the inability to walk prior to the age of four, John joined the United States Navy in January 1982, specializing in administration. He did it while keeping his condition a complete secret.

Throughout his distinguished twenty-year career, he sailed around the world on carriers, battleships, destroyers, and is a plank owner (founding member) of SEAL Team THREE. His numerous military decorations include four Navy Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and four Navy Achievement Medals. He is authorized to wear the Enlisted Surface Warfare breast insignia. John makes his home in Tucson, Arizona.




Often asked why he decided to keep his cerebral palsy secret, John is very clear. “I would have loved to have told the truth to the recruiter from the very beginning. If I had done that, I believed the the door would have been slammed in my face. So I kept my condition secret in order to give myself the opportunity to show what I could do. That’s what inclusion does for people with disabilities. It opens the door of opportunity so that a person can put their ability on display – not their disability.”

​When discussing Someone Like Me, John says, “My memoir is not a military book, not just for people with cerebral palsy. It’s for anyone who wants to read an inspirational story of hard work and hope.”

John makes his home in Tucson, Arizona, yet travels the world spreading his inspirational message.