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.
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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.
I hope you will take a few minutes to view this commemorative video, narrated by Sam Elliot — an actor well-known and respected by many from the Vietnam War generation.
You will learn that our brave warriors during the Vietnam War heeded the call to serve, primarily as volunteers — not draftees — just as those serving today in the Middle East and beyond. The short production is appropriate for all ages, and thus far is receiving a vote of approval from veterans who served in Southeast Asia nearly a half century ago.
League Chairman Anne Mills Griffiths and DPAA Director Michael Linnington kicked off the 2015 National League Meeting of POW/MIA Families. The meeting attracted one of the largest groups in recent years, and the atmosphere was upbeat throughout the three-day event.
DEFENSE POW/MIA ACCOUNTING AGENCY IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Families with MIAs still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War met in D.C., June 24-27, 2015, for the 46th annual League meeting. With the recent reorganization nearly complete, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) got down to business and, by all accounts, did an excellent job. In no small way, credit goes to League Chairman Ann Mills Griffiths and DPAA Director Michael Linnington, both of whom were front and center daily, from early morning to evening.
Mills-Griffiths, the heart and soul of the League, chaired the meeting that drew approximately 300-plus family members and officials. The annual dinner attracted several special guests of families, along with many from military, government and diplomatic circles.
The crux of the meeting each year is informational with DPAA subject-matter experts delivering presentations, serving on informational panels and participating in Q&A sessions. Questions are not submitted in advance, and the only no-no is that they are not about individual cases. Otherwise, family members direct their questions to specific participants.
In the line of fire, leadership and staff delivered thought-provoking responses that frequently generated input from multiple experts. The Q&A session is my favorite. It is truly an opportunity to learn more about the accounting system, and this year’s session was exceptionally good.
A partial list of participants, who traveled from overseas, included Ron Ward, Casualty Resolution Specialist, Det 2, Hanoi; LTC Marcus Ferrara, USA, Chief, Detachment 3, Laos; Pete Laverde, Stony Beach Specialist, DIA, Cambodia; Jared Elison, Stony Beach Specialist, DIA, Thailand, and many others.
PLEASE CLICK FOR CONTINUATION:2015 LEAGUE MEETING WITH FAMILIES OF VIETNAM WAR MIAs