Rear Adm. Matt Zirkle is a native of Hinsdale, Illinois, and a 1985 graduate of the University of California at San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics/Computer Science. He also holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Cornell University. Zirkle is the son of a World War II Army Air Forces veteran and the grandson of a United States Marine.
Following commissioning Zirkle was assigned to USS Parche (SSN 683). He also made deployments aboard USS Pintado (SSN 672) and USS Pogy (SSN 647).
In 1989, Zirkle affiliated with the Navy Reserve and commanded nine reserve units. His tours of duty include leadership roles in the Submarine Force, Naval Coastal Warfare, Naval Forces Korea, Office of Naval Research, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Command.
Zirkle returned to active duty in 2006 serving on the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff as a Navy Crisis Action Team chief at the Pentagon, monitoring all U.S. Navy operations and events worldwide. In 2009, he mobilized as chief of staff, Commander, Task Force Iraqi Maritime in Bahrain directing a headquarters staff of U.S. and Royal Navy personnel responsible for the protection of Iraq’s oil terminals and territorial waters as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As a flag officer, Zirkle was most recently commander, Submarines NATO, responsible for the operational tasking of all submarines assigned to the Alliance. He currently serves as director of innovation for the Navy Reserve.