Thursday, December 22, 2011

VADM James Zimble Remembrance

ATTENTION DEAR BLOG READERS. We are collecting stories and recollections of the life and career of former Surgeon General Vice Admiral James Zimble. Any stories that you may have of your service with him that you are willing to share would be appreciated. It is our intention to incorporate these memories into our archives and publish them in an upcoming article in our Navy medical history periodical. Please e-mail us at:

1 comment:

  1. LCDR Doug Faulls, MSC, USN, Ret.January 31, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    I first met ADM Zimble in 1984, when I was assigned as the Medical Construction Officer for the T-AH 19 class hosiptal ship conversion project at National Steel & Shipbuilding (NASSCO) in San Diego. He had flown out with Dr. Willima Mayer, the Assistant SECDEF for Health Affairs and then-Surgeon General ADM Lewis Seaton, to attend the "First Cut" ceremony and tour the hull that would become USNS MERCY. I was immediately struck by ADM Zimble's deep interest in the project -- he asked probing, thoughtful, far-ranging questions from manning, to department configuration to horizontal and vertical casualty flow, with a huge range of questions in between -- questions you'd not expect to hear from an SG. He wanted to know the "nits and nats" of all phases of construction. It was refreshing to hear, because the project had not been well-received or supported by the Line Navy. He also personally ensured our small on-site cadre of HMs and DTs were adequately staffed and supported. I'm convinced that his profound, personal commitment to these 2 medical platforms throughout their conversion, delivery, and beyond is the principal reason they exist at all. I recall the time ADM Zimble took us all to lunch after MERCY's naming ceremony, and asked each of us what assignments we desired after COMFORT's delivery, and he granted our requests; this, from a man who would, in a short while, become the 30th Navy Surgeon General.

    ADM Zimble was "old school" and a futurist; he placed his Navy above his own personal gains, and constantly looked "downstream" for what the Navy Department's role should be, ashore, afloat, and jointly. And most importantly, he held himself accountable for the present and future of Navy Medicine. He took dead seriously the exceptional and unremitting responsibility of being an officer. He believed in it and lived it every single day. What he did for those who served under him and the entire Navy family will continue for years to come. He was a superb Naval officer, and one of the finest Surgeons General our Navy has been privileged to have.