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 June, 2014
L-R: Alisa Stack, a senior DoD civilian specialist, appointed by Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Lumpkin to lead the accounting community transition team; Major General W. Montague “Q” Winfield, USA Ret., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs; and Elaine Zimmer Davis, attending the 2013 League meeting in Washington, D.C. Stack is not a newcomer to the complexities of transitions — her record in Afghanistan speaks for itself.
The 45th annual meeting of the National League of POW/MIA Families (League) is scheduled for June 11-14, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The event traditionally attracts 300-plus families and government officials during three days of scheduled meetings. It is a testament to families with loved ones still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War, who believe that giving up on our MIAs is not an option. Many have been making the D.C. trek for decades.
Were it not for the League and people like Chairman of the Board Ann Mills Griffiths, there would be no accounting program for any of us, including families with loved ones missing from the Korean War and WW II, which have their own annual meeting soon after the League’s.
Mills Griffiths will be at the podium much of the time, keeping everyone on their toes during the Department of Defense’s unveiling of the newly rehabbed accounting community.
I will post a follow-up blog after returning from D.C. I’m anticipating a lot of changes within the accounting community, namely because DPMO and JPAC, along with a few other key players, will be consolidated into a single organization with a new name and new civilian leader under the DoD umbrella.
I look forward to hearing Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Lumpkin, as the keynote speaker at the Opening Session, elaborate on the future of Vietnam War recoveries. I also hope to see many of the people in the military and civil service, who have been instrumental in bringing home our loved ones from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and providing families with emotional support along the way.