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 March, 2015
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey — Victoria Cross Awarded To Brit for Valor During Joint Military Operation in Afghanistan
QUEEN ELIZABETH PRESENTS BRITISH PARATROOPER LANCE CORPORAL JOSHUA LEAKEY WITH THE VICTORIA CROSSThanks to Air Commodore Nick Laird CBE, RAF (See Laird at 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball) , I learned that British Paratrooper Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey, 27, was recently awarded (Feb. 26, 2015) the Victoria Cross (VC), which is equivalent to our Medal of Honor (MOH). Laird was proud of Leakey’s accomplishment and shared the news with my husband, Ron, and others in the states.
As with our MOH, the VC is awarded to recipients who have gone far beyond the call of duty in combat, which accurately describes Leakey’s actions when a joint force of British soldiers, paratroopers and US Marines were attacked in 2013 by approximately 20 Taliban while on patrol in Afghanistan. And although Leakey received the VC, he reiterated that the prestige of such an honor extends to all those in his unit — 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. From my research, this Para is the best of the best, and when one of their own is honored, the message is clear — they are all VC material.
The fact that the joint patrol involved U.S. Marines from Camp Leatherneck, along with UK Army Soldiers and paratroopers from Camp Bastion, both located at that time in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was another aspect of the story that caught my attention — I always appreciate good battlefield stories about our Marines. Wounded during the patrol, but now completely recovered, was Marine Capt. Brandon Bocian, a member of the command group, to whom Leakey rendered first aid during the heat of battle. Said Bocian of Leakey’s battlefield actions: “I hadn’t met Lance Corporal Leakey prior to that day but am grateful for his actions.” Commenting on Leakey’s VC award, Bocian said he was happy to hear that Leakey was formally recognized, adding that he deserved it.
In my opinion — our troops can never have enough friends in combat, and they don’t come much better than the Brits. Congratulations, Lance Corporal Leakey!