Statement from USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa on the Retirement of Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:

The indefatigable Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer is leaving public life after having served his country and ten presidents over 52 years.  

His career began when he was drafted during the Vietnam War.  He rose through the ranks of the U.S. Navy from helicopter pilot all the way to the rank of Rear Admiral.  Upon retiring from the Navy, he did not rest on his well-deserved laurels, but took over the humanitarian organization World Relief.  Later, President Bush called him back into public service in 2005 to launch and lead the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI).  The program Tim started and shaped has saved millions of lives and created networks that are helping in the response to COVID-19 in developing countries right now.  

For the past two years, Tim has led the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as we responded to numerous disasters and threats around the world, such as Cyclone Idai, Hurricane Dorian, and the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

No words can truly express the gratitude I, and so many others have for Tim's decades of public service and sacrifice.  A true leader, more than his words, his repeated actions and demonstrations of grit, determination, and moral courage have provided shining examples for so many on what true leadership and service to country really means.  All of us will miss Tim's counsel and his seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of wisdom and sage advice.   

While it is tempting at this time to let feelings of sadness that he will no longer physically be by our side on a daily basis overtake us, it is overwhelming joy and gratitude that I feel for having been blessed with the opportunity to have gotten to know him and serve with him.  He has earned many times over the ability to now be busy spending time with his beloved wife, three children and seven grandchildren.  And the fact that he has offered to take an occasional call from me to seek his advice is yet another gift I am deeply grateful for and promise not to abuse.

Tim, on behalf of a grateful nation, I salute you.  Fair winds and following seas, my friend.

Last updated: September 16, 2020

Share This Page