Commander Richard G. Zeber Medical Service Corps United States Navy
Commander Richard (Rick) Zeber enlisted in the United States Navy’s submarine service in 1986 and served aboard USS Georgia, SSBN 729. He became a storekeeper, completed six patrols, and attained the rank of second class petty officer during four years Active Duty service. Commander Zeber then served in the Naval Reserves from 1991 to 1994 and was commissioned on selection for Navy Health Professions Scholarship for Optometry. He graduated from the University of Toledo, Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology in 1994. In 1998, he earned his Doctor of Optometry degree from The Ohio State University, and in 2009 completed an executive MBA from Navy Postgraduate School.
As a Navy optometrist, Commander Zeber began his career at Naval Hospital Lemoore, California from July 1998 to June 2001. He then served at Naval Branch Medical Clinic, Key West from July 2001-July 2004, where he performed clinical care and additionally led 24 military and civilian staff as Head, Community Health Services. In July 2004 he reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola for duty under instruction and received training in aeromedical management, aviation physiology and flight training. As the first “aerospace” optometrist at Branch Health Clinic Oceana, Commander Zeber contributed significantly to safety and readiness programs for fleet and ashore personnel. Additionally, he led a staff of 40 while Department Head for Operational Medicine, and began completing his Navy Postgraduate School, distance learning EMBA. In March 2008, CDR Zeber was assigned as fleet liaison and optometric clinic care coordinator for Refractive Surgery Center San Diego. He was a critical coordinator for research and clinical care for line personnel across the globe, ensuring the seamless acceptance of LASIK for designated and accession aviation personnel, and conducted research involving hundreds of personnel. Commander Zeber deployed as medical support staff assigned to USS Cleveland and DESRON 23 in 2011 for Pacific Partnership humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness training. He directed care and support for one third of all services provided during the four month mission.
CDR Zeber is currently assigned as executive officer for Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity and Training Officer for Tri-Service Optician School in Yorktown, VA. He is also assigned as Assistant Specialty Leader for Navy Optometry, managing programs for the corps of 125 officers and 15 civilians.
Commander Zeber’s awards and decorations include aeromedical officer’s wings, Surface Warfare Medical Department Officer designator, enlisted submarine warfare designator, four Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, Enlisted Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, two National Defense Service Medals, and Navy pistol sharp-shooter ribbon. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and a member of both the American Optometric Association and the Armed Forces Optometric Association. He is currently licensed to practice optometry in Ohio and California.
Commander Zeber is married to his wife Bonnie of twelve years.