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 March, 2012
The Defense Department just announced a freeze in its plans to resume MIA recoveries in North Korea. According to Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, the suspension came about as a result of North Korea’s recent “threats to launch ballistic missiles” and other “actions that might be provocative–” presumably towards South Korea and other perceived foes.
Although no timeline was given when recoveries might resume, Little said that it is important for the North Koreans to return to the “standards of behavior that the international community has called for.”
This news came as JPAC was preparing to resume efforts in North Korea after a six-year absence. It was not known if a JPAC advance team had been recalled, or if the suspension had been imposed before its arrival up North. No doubt, recovery team safety was among the considerations in canceling operations.
Of our 8,000 unaccounted-for MIAs from the Korean War, it is believed that approximately 5,000 are located in North Korea. If JPAC had been able to return, the plan was to focus on two areas — Usan County and the Chosin/Janglin Reservoir, where the remains of 2,000 Marines and soldiers may exist.
In some ways, recoveries from the Korean War have suffered from some of the same challenges as those from the Vietnam War — mainly caused by political differences. However, in recent years, relations between the United States and Vietnam have continued to strengthen. Korean War MIA families had hoped that Kim Jong Un might offer new hope, but thus far he seems to be a genetic clone of his forebearers.
The upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, is believed to have played a role in the North’s increased rhetoric. President Obama is expected to visit the DMZ during the summit.
This blog was prepared with some details from Military.com (Philip Ewing).
The above video was sent to my husband, Ron, by Dewy Clarridge — it offers a great opportunity to see several army and air force takeoffs and landings at An Khe Army Airfield during the 1960s. You’ll see Bird Dogs, Hueys, Cobras, Ch-54 Cranes, LOHs, CH-47s and more.
An Khe was located in II Corps, between Qui Nhon on the coast and Pleiku in the Central Highlands. The American 1st Cavalry Div was based there from ’65-’68, along with the Army 25th Ordnance Detachment. After ’68, the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade took over. The area was strategically important.
I really like this video and hope you do too!