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 the ‘LEAVING OUR VIETNAM MIAs BEHIND?’ Category
Almost four decades after the Vietnam War ended, we’re still trying to work with the Russians to learn about our MIAs left behind in Vietnam and other past wars. In 1992, the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission (USRJC) on POW/MIA affairs was established, providing an exchange of vital information about MIAs for both sides. Hope was at an all-time high with heavy-hitter U.S-Russian participants eager to engage. But the commission’s track record has not lived up to expectations, and the future does not look promising.
For the U.S., we knew the commission offered a pathway to access of Russian military archives. For Vietnam-era families this group was a godsend, since most military history buffs agree that the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) would never have succeeded in controlling the country had it not been for the Russians. Aside from providing training, planes, missiles—and a lot more—Russia is believed to have documented every aspect of the air war over North Vietnam, consisting of information about aircraft/pilots that were shot down, killed or captured and occasionally imprisoned in Russia. In the bigger picture, access to Russian military archives is vitally important to determining the fate of thousands of Americans from World War II through the end of the Cold War. Read more
Like many Americans, I did not know until recently that our government began one of the largest wartime recovery efforts in history, 65 years ago—long before the Vietnam War began. This effort was undertaken from 1945 to 1951, on behalf of WWII soldiers and Marines.
According to the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)–which now develops and manages policies involving recoveries of missing Americans in wartime locations, the WWII effort involved some 13,000 personnel and cost $163.8 million in wartime dollars. Read more