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.
Archive for April, 2010
• 8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the war (Aug 5, 1964 – March 28, 1973).
• 2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam (Jan. 1, 1965 – March 28, 1973)
• Of the 2.6 million, between 1 – 1.6 million (40 – 60%) either fought in combat, provided close support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack.
• 7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% were nurses) served in Vietnam.
• Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April 30, 1968)
• Hostile deaths: 47,378
• Total: 58,202 (Includes men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties). Men who have subsequently died of wounds account for the changing total.
• 61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.
• Wounded: 303,704 — 153,329 hospitalized + 150,375 injured requiring no hospital care.
• Severely disabled: 75,000 — 23,214 – 100% disabled; 5,283 lost limbs; 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.
• Missing in Action: 2,338
• POWs: 766 (114 died in captivity)
When our family began the quest to bring home Jerry’s remains, we truly didn’t understand much about the process, except for the emotional side of this complicated undertaking . And while we have come far, the journey is still very emotional.
I knew nothing of JPAC, the government group that searches for wartime MIAs throughout the world, until a couple of years ago. I was one of those people who dealt with the incredible pain of losing Jerry at a young age by not dealing with it. In fact, I can remember the day when I was no longer able to avoid the reality of Jerry’s death. In 2004, Ron and I traveled to Vietnam and tried unsuccessfully to get close to Jerry’s site. Monsoon rains had washed out pertinent roads and, needless to say, we didn’t get too far. Read more