My first husband, Capt. Jerry Zimmer, was an F4B Phantom jet pilot, whose aircraft was shot down on August 29, 1969, approximately 20 miles South of Da Nang, Vietnam, after six months in country. Neither Jerry nor his navigator, 1st Lt. Al Graf, was able to eject, before the aircraft crashed into the Que Son Mountains. Initially Jerry and Al were classified as Killed in Action/No Body Recovered (KIA/NBR). Years later, both Marines were listed as MIA, along with other service members whose bodies were never recovered.
Jerry has been gone nearly a half century, and hope for recovering his remains had run out a long time ago. However, in recent years our family became involved with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), now merged with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), and learned that Jerry’s and Al’s remains might, in fact, be recoverable, so we are doing everything possible to support their efforts to make this happen and bring our guys home where they belong.
NOTE: BLOG POSTS ARE NOT UPDATED, SO INFORMATION MAY HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME.
Bringing Jerry Home...
This blog site represents the work of many people – family, friends, Marines, National League of POW/MIA Families, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) – now integrated into the newly formed Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) -- and others within the U.S. Government and elsewhere who believe that bringing home our MIAs is the fulfillment of a solemn promise that we make to our men and women in uniform.
We invite you to follow our collective journey in the quest to bring Jerry home.
On June 19, 2015, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter selected Army LTG Michael Linnington, (Ret), for the position as Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The newly formed agency is now responsible for investigations, searches, recoveries, identifications and repatriations of service members and personnel classified as POW/MIA, primarily from WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and others as designated.
DPAAs soft roll out came in January 2015, with the consolidation of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO). JPACs former Commander, Maj Gen Kelly McKeague, USAF, assumed the interim position as Deputy Commander of DPAA, under Interim Commander Rear Adm Michael Franken, USN, who has moved on to become Deputy Commander for Military Operations at U.S. Africa Command.
It is my understanding that McKeague is currently serving as Deputy Director of DPAA; however, it is unknown if he will serve a tour of duty in that position now that the agency has a director in place. In my opinion, McKeague would be extremely helpful, dealing with the complexities of global field operations at this point in time.
The Linnington announcement comes less than a week before families with loved ones still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War will be attending their annual League meeting in Washington, D.C. at which time DPAA will concurrently present a briefing to the group. (MIA families from WWII and Korea will meet in August for a similar briefing).
Now that Linnington has been selected, it is likely that he will attend the two briefings — even if able to make only a brief appearance at each. Families at the League meeting will be eager to meet him and to be reassured of his commitment to do everything possible to bring home MIAs from the Vietnam War and to quell any fears to the contrary (see update below).
A native of Cape May, N.J., Linnington is a 1980 graduate of West Point, at which time he was commissioned as an infantry officer. Later, the General received his MS in Applied Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., along with a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C.
Having served in key command and staff positions during his 33 years of Army service, Linnington has accrued many domestic and international tours of duty. From 2002 to 2004 he took command of the 3d Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 101st Airborne Div (AASLT), both in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq.
Comfortable in the D.C. arena, Linnington has served multiple tours there, and in July 2013 assumed duties as Military Deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness). The General is not new to the accounting community, having served as an advisor to Franken and McKeague since the inception of DPAA, which places him in a much better position than someone coming into a start-up agency of sorts with no prior knowledge of the system.
According to recent press coverage, the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer was tasked with assisting DPAA during the transition period with a workplace assessment to develop performance measures and a new organizational structure. It is likely that Linnington will place priority on reviewing all the recommendations compiled by the various work groups, especially as they relate to personnel. The agency is still in the growth mode.
Insiders say the competition for the job was tough and attracted a lot of high level candidates. From what I can tell, Linnington appears to be an excellent choice. I wish him the best.
UPDATE — June 30, 2015
Aside from Linnington’s topnotch military credentials, his recent retirement from the Army made him eligible to fulfill the civilian requirement to serve as Director of DPAA.
Discussing his new job at the recent meeting in D.C. with the National League of POW/MIA Families, Linnington told attendees that he intended to stay in the position for 10 years. The families expressed their overwhelming approval after having seen a number of changes in recent years and, consequently, hoped the permanent position would be filled by someone like Linnington.