Word of Mouth Connection I first met Quinton Lafferty over the phone a few weeks ago thanks to David Jackson, retired Army lieutenant colonel, whose Signal veteran’s page appeared July 27, 2018. This word-of-mouth connection led to Quinton and me meeting over coffee at Valencia’s Corner Bakery. I found Quinton to be a bright, ambitious and patriotic young man. I predict that a tremendous future lies ahead for him. Birthed at Home Quinton D. Lafferty was born Dec. 28, 1991, in his parents’ home, with four midwives assisting, at West Linn, Oregon, and he was the Laffertys’ third son of four brothers. At age 3, Quinton’s family moved to Pamplico Drive in Saugus and he attended several local elementary schools before attending Valencia High School for one semester. Due to his parents’ separation, at age 14 Quinton and his brothers moved to Saratoga Springs, Utah, to live with their father, and Quinton graduated from Westlake High School June 18, 2010. While in high school, Quinton competed on his high school’s swim team and he developed his strong work ethic working various jobs, including at Wal-Mart, Starbucks, retail stores, a movie theater, etc., some of which continued after graduation. In these early years, Quinton realized he possessed excellent interpersonal skills and a disciplined way of life, thus he began thinking about his purpose in life. 1st Marine Division By the time Quinton turned 21, he made the tough decision to enlist in the United States Marine Corps, which he did Oct. 28, 2013. After completing boot camp and infantry training at Camp Pendleton, Quinton was offered the opportunity to select his military occupation specialty (MOS). Quinton selected infantry rifleman. Upon completion of infantry training, Quinton was assigned to 2nd Platoon, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton. Immediately upon arriving to his new unit, Quinton was offered an opportunity to participate in their scout sniper indoctrination course and, always seeking challenges, he promptly accepted. Quinton had already earned an expert rifleman badge. It’s noted that Quinton’s grandfather Watson LeRoy Lafferty Sr. served with the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the USS Cape Esperance, a resupply ship. Though he was the ship’s barber, Watson trained with dual-mounted .50-caliber machine guns and regularly participated in the ship’s boxing matches. Inspired by his grandfather, Quinton also took up barbering and became quite proficient cutting his buddy’s hair. Tiger Cruise After completing sniper indoctrination, Quinton went before a panel of senior non-commission officers and he was approved to join the scout sniper platoon. Soon, he was learning and refining a plethora of sniper/infantry skills such as camouflage, field craft and marksmanship that were not available to Quinton anywhere else in the entire USMC. In February 2016, Quinton deployed with his 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS New Orleans and visited seaports in South Korea, Thailand, Bahrain, Dubai, Sri Lanka and Bali, ending at Pearl Harbor. While at Pearl, Quinton’s father Allen Lafferty joined him and the crew via its “Tiger Cruise” program from Pearl Harbor back to San Diego. Tiger Cruises are designed to allow family members to participate with their sons and daughters on voyages from Pearl Harbor to San Diego. While aboard the ship, father and son enjoyed observing a Harrier jet fighters air show, an engine room tour and visiting the captain’s bridge along with working out together in the ship’s gymnasium. This voyage was quite a bonus for the Laffertys. Dual Infatuation Meanwhile, Quinton realized that to become a full-fledged scout sniper he must re-enlist, hence he began considering future career opportunities. Following his last year of service at Camp Pendleton, Quinton received from the long-heralded 1st USMC Division his honorable discharge on Oct. 27, 2017. Shortly before departing, Quinton decided his best bet was either becoming a Los Angeles firefighter or pursuing electrical engineering. During this time frame, Quinton attended a fellow Marine’s “end of service” family barbecue and there he met his future sweetheart, Brooke Stanley. Quinton said, “While having the advantage of liquid courage on my side when we met, I came off as totally confident while she showed no interest in me at all! But over the course of the night I was reassured by my buddy that she was indeed interested in me. By the end of the night we had both relaxed and opened up to each other. I realized that this is the woman I wanted to share my life with.” Two weeks later, Brooke was leaving for three months to study in Cannes, France, which floored Quinton so he booked a flight and joined her for one amazing week. Their relationship blossomed. Los Angeles Firefighter Following Quinton’s USMC discharge, he successfully attended and passed an emergency medical technician (EMT) course at UCLA’s pre-hospital care unit. Still considering his job options, Quinton took several semesters at College of the Canyons using his GI Bill. However, he ultimately determined that becoming a firefighter was his chosen career path, and he’s currently devoting his full attention to joining Los Angeles’ Fire Department. Quinton is employed by an ambulance company in Los Angeles. While attending COC, Quinton met Renard Thomas, who manages their Veterans Resource Center, and he was hired as a college assistant in special projects editing. Quinton participated in creating a success video of one of his peers, which will be used to inspire veterans to achieve their highest academic potential. Meanwhile, Quinton’s significant other, Brooke, attends California Lutheran University with a double major in journalism and French and expects to graduate in 2019. Heart and Soul Quinton aspires to first become a firefighter and then a paramedic along with advancing his education in chemical engineering. His other interests are physical fitness, water skiing and documentary film editing. Otherwise, Quinton’s nose is to the grindstone pursuing a meaningful career. While talking with Quinton he came across as possessing a very friendly manner and he showed much reverence toward my generation of Vietnam veterans, which I so appreciated. As we spoke it dawned on me that this fine young man, a volunteer United States Marine, is representative of the true heart and soul of America. It’s easy to imagine that his parents are busting with pride.