In this recurring special feature, Nonahood News recognizes and honors those everyday heroes who have served or are currently serving our country and making a difference in our community. Those who reside in the Lake Nona and surrounding area are our Nona Heroes.
This month’s hero served in two branches of the military for nearly three decades, a total of 28 years. Meet Gary Quick, a Laureate Park resident of six years. Quick joined the Army at just 23 years old due to the draft.
“[I] first joined the U.S. Army and attended Basic and Advanced Infantry at Ft. Polk, LA. Then off to Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, GA, where I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry – why?” Quick asked. “Attending OCS would give me six more months before getting shot in Vietnam. [I had] orders to Vietnam, which were canceled 30 days before I was to go, then served my time and was released from the Army at the end of my commitment. I resigned my commission and joined the Navy, was commissioned as an Ensign, [and] earned my aviation wings as a naval flight officer – 25 years in the Navy for a total of just under 28 years.”
Quick was based in Georgia at Fort Benning when he was in the Army, and the list of places he was based in the Navy is pretty extensive. Those locations included flight school at NAS Pensacola, FL; the Naval Station in Rota, Spain, for two separate tours; naval postgraduate school in Monterey, CA; USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in Norfolk, VA; NAS Patuxent River, MD, for test pilot school; and a follow-on tour at Pax River performing research, development, test and evaluation, flight testing a number of aircraft weapons systems.
Quick then found himself at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and then the Office of Naval Research (ONR), during which he was selected for Aviation Command. He consequently stood up and commanded Fleet Air Reconnaissance Six (VQ-6) at NAS Cecil Field, FL. Following his command tour, he was assigned to the Space and Naval Warfare Command (director of technology) in Arlington, VA; with his final Navy tour in Research Park as the director of naval aviation programs at the Naval Air Warfare Center right here in Orlando.
When Quick was in the Army, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant after just one year, and in the Navy, he was promoted to Captain, following almost 26 years of service overall. Through all of his different locations at different bases, when asked what some of his best memories were while serving, he was swift to mention his travels and learning experiences.
“Serving overseas in Spain, flying all over Europe and around the Mediterranean, was the beginning of travel that now includes almost 40 different countries. All of my tours were great, but the Naval PG School stands out as a foundation block that was instrumental to a successful career. [I received an] MS in electronic systems engineering, also an MS from USC (night school),” Quick continued. “Nimitz[’s] ship company was also great – one nine-month cruise with 158 days at sea without seeing land – Iranian hostage crisis.”
After all those years serving our country, Quick was offered a retirement buyout from Lockheed Martin at the end of 2016 and began working for them only days later, becoming the business development lead for Naval (the Navy and Marine Corps) Aviation Training. He’s now a licensed real estate agent, broker and investor, and he formed an engineering solutions company this summer under contract to Lockheed Martin, providing management, engineering and subject matter expertise.
If you would like to nominate someone for our next Nona Heroes feature, please send an email to email@example.com or complete the form here: nonahood.to/nonaheroes.