Our Mission:

Jerry was an F4 Phantom 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 because of the altitude and trajectory of the aircraft. They were initially 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 – regardless of their original classification.

Although Jerry has been gone for four decades, our family learned that his remains might be recoverable, so we are doing everything possible to work with JPAC to make this happen and bring Jerry home to the United States where he belongs.

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Keeping it real:  This mage was part of a PowerPoint presentation presented during the 2014 League meeting, depicting actual Vietnam War field operations.

Keeping it real: This slide was part of a PowerPoint presentation during the 2014 League meeting, depicting a collage of field operations that took place while searching for our MIAs from the Vietnam War.

 ANNOUNCING

THE 46TH ANNUAL MEETING*

NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES

OF AMERICAN PRISONERS AND MISSING

IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

JUNE 24 – 27, 2015

HILTON CRYSTAL CITY HOTEL**

ARLINGTON, VA

_________________________________________________ 

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

The annual League meeting has been a must-attend event for more than four decades, and 2015 will be no exception. In fact, this year’s meeting is more important than ever for Vietnam War families.

There is strength in numbers, and our attendance will not only demonstrate the League’s strength, but it will also send a message to the newly formed Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that families support their efforts, and we are eager to hear DPAA tell us they are committed to ours.

IT TAKES A COMMUNITY

The meeting is expected to include some new faces and hopefully a number of returnees that have stood by us through the good and bad times. I continue to learn more from these annual meetings than I ever thought possible – in essence, they are the closest connection that families have, as a whole,  to a transparent environment within the accounting community – largely because of League Chairman Ann Mills Griffiths, who has been the League’s guiding force for nearly four decades.

 The League supports families in numerous ways, but neither Ann nor other members of the board and key advocates in veteran and political circles can do it all. Family members are the lifeblood of the mission to bring home our loved ones.

Please visit www.pow-miafamilies.org/annual-meeting/ for all meeting details, including contact information, schedule of events, Annual Meeting Dinner, Service- Hosted Luncheons, and most important, the names of officials who have been invited to the meeting.

ESTABLISHING CONNECTIONS

If you have created MIA business cards, bring a bunch — remember DPAA is newly formed.   I recommend that cards include your loved one’s name, rank, branch of service, official date of death and, if desired, a thumbnail image of him — don’t forget to include your name and email address.  For security reasons, I don’t encourage including home address or telephone numbers. If your cards are one-sided, you can use the blank side (if requested)  to hand-write personal contact information.  My cards are one-sided and very simple with Jerry’s  name, rank, branch of service, my name and URL for this site.

Even if a family member has five minutes for a face-to-face with an official at some point during the meeting, he or she will appreciate receiving a business card from you and hopefully that person will reciprocate with a card, as well. (If you had a noteworthy conversation, jot down something on the back of their card, as a memory jogger).

*MEETING REGISTRATION MUST BE POSTMARKED BY FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2015

**TO RECEIVE A SPECIAL RATE FROM HILTON CRYSTAL CITY HOTEL,

THE CUT OFF DATE IS MAY 22, 2015

 

 QUEEN ELIZABETH PRESENTS BRITISH PARATROOPER LANCE CORPORAL JOSHUA LEAKEY WITH THE VICTORIA CROSS

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth presents British Paratrooper Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey with the Victoria Cross, awarded for valor in combat.

Her Majesty the Queen presented British Paratrooper Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey with the Victoria Cross, awarded for valor in combat.  The formal ceremony took place April 14, 2015.  Leakey joins a very prestigious group of VC recipients, of which he is only the 15th awarded since WWII and the 5th since 1982. [First introduced in 1856 by Queen Victoria, the medal has been awarded to a total of 1358 recipients].   Said Leakey:  “It is massively humbling….  My family is very proud and happy, but the lads in the battalion know this isn’t something you seek out.  You just do what you deem necessary on the day, and anyone of them could be standing where I am today.”

Thanks 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.

Capt Bocian, USMC, was wounded in Afghanistan,  and UK Paratrooper Lance Corp. Leakey risked his life to help evacuate Bocian.

Capt Brandon Bocian, USMC, was wounded in Afghanistan, and UK Para Lance Corporal Leakey risked his life to help evacuate Bocian, while under intense fire.

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!