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 January, 2011
Increasingly, JPAC is focusing on WWII, hoping to recover more MIAs, 65 years after that war ended, while not impeding its efforts elsewhere—most notably in Vietnam. In addition, JPAC continues to tackle the seemingly impossible job of sorting out co-mingled and poorly preserved remains from the Korean War—so complex is the effort that the CIL has assigned a team solely to this project—very sad, indeed. And although North Korea is currently out of reach, JPAC will return when given the green light. Read more
In brief, JPAC has about 400 military and civilian workers who specialize in all the requisite skills needed to recover our POWs and MIAs from past wars. To my knowledge, there is no other group of this type anywhere that comes equipped with the manpower, finances and expertise to accomplish this mission.
Because JPAC reports to PACOM, it is a military organization with a Commander as the top leader—currently that person is Maj Gen Stephen Tom, USAR. Next in the military lineup is Deputy Commander Col John Sullivan, a career Marine, whose JPAC tour of duty will end in May 2011, I believe. Supporting the military are several civil service employees—most of whom have military backgrounds. This structure almost guarantees that the recovery goal of our MIAs will always be a priority (military to military) and be included in the DoD budget—HOWEVER, the typical problems of budget, policies and political wrangling still exist, according to my research, as with any government organization—so expect the unexpected. Read more