James A. Zimble was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College and earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He interned at the U.S. Naval Hospital at St. Albans, New York and went to the Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, California, where he completed his residency. Prior to getting his flag rank in 1981, he was the Commanding Medical Officer of the Naval Regional Medical Center, Orlando, Florida; Medical Officer of the United States Marine Corps; Fleet Surgeon Commander-in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He was promoted to Vice Admiral and Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy in 1987.
Vice Admiral Zimble, as Surgeon General, was responsible for U.S. Navy healthcare programs with almost three million beneficiaries. He was an advisor on all medical matters and he was involved with the medical care during the Gulf War. In 1991, Vice Admiral Zimble retired from the Navy and he was selected to be the President of the Uniformed Services University. He elevated the University in stature, growth, and contributions. The University has become an outstanding center for military health care information, curriculum, education and training.