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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Archive for May, 2010
Thanks to two bright people with strong ties to Brown – David Taylor, a former NROTC scholarship recipient who graduated with Jerry from Brown University, Class of ’66, became a Marine and attended the same Basic School (TBS 1-67), flight school and went on to become a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. The other is Dr. Elizabeth Taylor, known by her friends as “Beth,” who is a professor of non-fiction writing at Brown University, where she received her master’s degree and doctorate. (I just ordered her newly published book, The Plain Language of Love and Loss: A Quaker Memoir, and look forward to reading it). Among Beth’s writings are scholarly works dealing with the effect that the Vietnam War had on different people’s lives. And since much of her work these days focuses on writing projects for Brown’s archives, Beth was interested when David suggested that she consider a Brown Vietnam Oral History project. Read more
Stacy and Craig, with Charlie (R) and Jerry (L) at our home in Kingsville, Tx.
A lot of people have asked me in recent years why I settled in California after Jerry’s death, since he was an East Coast Marine and I’d never been to the West Coast. The truth is that Craig and I moved to Tustin, CA, near El Toro Air Station, because I had talked my friend, Carol Pigott, into moving there after her husband, Charlie, died in Vietnam, three months before Jerry. Both guys attended Brown University on ROTC scholarships, so we were a foursome from the beginning.
Jerry and Charlie also were in the same Marine Corps Basic School class (1-67) at Quantico, and ended up in the same squadron, VMFA-542, in Vietnam. Charlie was a great guy – he made me laugh, just looking at him. Charlie did what came natural, all 6’ plus of him! For instance, during flight school, we moved several times, as the guys transitioned from one phase of the program to another. I’ll never forget the time we were moving again, and Charlie drove with daughter Stacy, who must have been under a year old, strapped in her potty chair, from Texas to Florida (I think). Carol may have flown ahead. Upon their arrival, Charlie pulled up to our house and there was Stacy, looking cute as could be – a chubby little towhead — in her potty chair, sitting next to her dad, who was grinning from ear to ear. That was Charlie.