Rear Adm. Matthew A. 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 WWII 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 since led nine reserve units. His tours of duty include assignments 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 OPNAV 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 commander, Submarines NATO, responsible for the operational tasking of all submarines assigned to the Alliance. He most recently served as director of Innovation for the Navy Reserve.
Zirkle assumed duties as chief of staff, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa in August 2018.