John Quick was born on June 20, 1870, in Charleston, West Virginia. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on August 10, 1892, and served with the Marine Barracks, Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, followed by service with the First Marine Battalion at Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., from April to September 1898, during which time he participated in the Spanish-American War in Cuba from June to August 1898. Sgt Quick again served in combat with the First Marine Battalion during the Philippine-American War from October 1901 to March 1902, and later served with the Army of Cuban Pacification in 1906. He served on expeditionary duty in Mexico during the occupation of Vara Cruz in 1914, and sailed to France with the 6th Marine Regiment in 1917, where he participated in the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Toulon Sector at Verdun, the Aisne-Marne Offensive, the Marbache Sector near Pont-a-Mousoon, the St. Mihiel Offensive, the Battle of Banc Mont Ridge, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Sgt Maj Quick returned to the U.S. at the end of the war and retired from the Marine Corps on November 20, 1918, and was recalled for a brief period of duty from July to September 1920. He died on September 9, 1922, and was buried at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Jennings, Missouri. The destroyer USS Quick (DD-490) was named in his honor in 1942.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
In action during the battle of Cuzco, Cuba, 14 June 1898. Distinguishing himself during this action, Quick signaled the U.S.S. Dolphin on 3 different occasions while exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy.