Paul Edwin Trimble was born on March 24, 1913, at Agenda, Kansas. He was graduated from Milaca High School, Milaca, Minnesota, rating near the top of his class. While in high school he was a member of the National Honor Society, and was active on the school paper, in football, basketball, and scout programs.
His military career began with his appointment as cadet to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn., on August 13, 1932. He was graduated with a B.S. Degree and a commission as Ensign in the Coast Guard on June 8, 1936.
Subsequently he advanced to Lieutenant (jg), June 8, 1939; Lieutenant, February 25, 1942; Lieut. Commander, December 8, 1943; Commander, April 15, 1949; Captain, July 1, 1958; Rear Admiral, July 1, 1964; Vice Admiral, July 27, 1966; retired July 1, 1970.
After leaving the Academy he served six years of sea duty on board various Coast Guard cutters stationed on the coast of New England – the Cutters Mojave, Algonquin, Chelan, Tahoe, and Cayuga. In August 1940, he was ordered to a post-graduate training course at the Harvard School of Business Administration where he was graduated with a Master’s Degree (MBA) with Distinction in June 1942; he was named a Baker Scholar in 1941.
With the Service’s World War II expansion program underway, he resumed regular military duties at the Third Coast Guard District office in New York as Finance Officer. From August 1943 to August 1945, he commanded, respectively, the patrol frigates USS Hoquiam (PF-5) and the SS Sausalito (PF-4) in the Pacific theatre of war operations. While with the Sausalito he was also Commander, Escort Division 27, which ultimately was turned over to Russia under the lend-lease program.
After the war he was assigned as Assistant Chief, Budget Division, at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C. From October 1951 to July 1953, he commanded the Cutter Storis (WAG-83), a multi-function (search and rescue, logistics, law enforcement, buoy tending, icebreaking) vessel then stationed at Juneau, Alaska. Following that tour of sea duty, he returned to Coast Guard Headquarters to serve, successively, as Chief, Budget and Coast Analysis Division until September 1955, as Assistant Comptroller until August 1957, and as Comptroller of the Coast Guard until August 1959.
After commanding the 327-ft. Cutter Duane on ocean station patrol and search and rescue in the North Atlantic for two years, he became Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Base at Boston, Mass., in July 1961.
In July 1962, he reported for a third tour of duty at Coast Guard Headquarters but this time to assume the post of Deputy Chief of Staff. He was designated Chief of Staff of the U.S. Coast Guard when he was nominated by the President for the permanent rank of Rear Admiral in January 1964. With the approval of the Senate (February 10, 1964), his rank as flag officer became effective as of July 1, 1964.
On July 13, 1966, President Johnson named Rear Admiral Trimble to the post of Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard with the rank of Vice Admiral (succeeding retiring VADM William D. Shields, USCG). He was sworn into office on July 27, 1966, by Assistant Secretary of the Treasury True Davis.
In October 1966, VADM Trimble was designated by the Director of the Bureau of the Budget as Chairman of an Interagency Task Force to develop plans organizing the newly enacted Department of Transportation of which the Coast Guard would become a member.
In December 1966, VADM Trimble received the Distinguished Service Medal for his service from June 1964 to November 1966, during which he served successively as Chief of Staff and assistant Commandant of the Coast Guard, as well as for his service during the formative stages of the Department of Transportation.
In June 1967, VADM Trimble was presented the Legion of Merit Medal by Secretary of Transportation Alan S. Boyd for his performance as Chairman of the Interagency Task Force.
VADM Trimble retired on July 1, 1970, with 34 years of service. At that time he was awarded a Gold star in lieu of a Second Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service as Assistant Commandant. The Medal was presented by Secretary of Transportation John A. Volpe.
After returning to civilian life, VADM Trimble accepted the post of President of the Lake Carriers Association at Cleveland, Ohio, effective in August 1970.
VADM Trimble’s World War II campaign medals and ribbons include the following: American Defense; American Area; European-African-Middle Eastern Area; Asiatic-Pacific Area; World War II Victory. Later awards include the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, as well as the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Gold Star in lieu of the Second Distinguished Service Medal.
VADM Trimble has held memberships in the following organizations: he was named a Vice President of the American Society of Military Comptrollers in October 1958; he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Navy Mutual Aid Association while Assistant Commandant; he is a member of the National Aviation Club.
VADM Trimble is married to the former Iva E. M. of Milaca, Minn. They have one daughter, Sharrol Lee who was married in June 1960 to LCDR James E. Foels, USCG (Coast Guard Academy class of 1959). They also have one son, James Patton Trimble, a graduate of Suffolk University, Boston, Mass.