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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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LTG MICHAEL LINNINGTON NEW DPAA DIRECTOR

Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 08:06 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis
Army LTG Michael Linnington has been selected by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to serve as the first Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).  The agency is responsible for all POW/MIA recoveries from past wars.  Linnington is not new to accounting community and served as an advisor before being named the new Director.

Army LTG Michael Linnington has been selected by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to serve as the first Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The agency is responsible for all POW/MIA recoveries from past wars. Linnington is not new to accounting community and served as an advisor before being named the new Director.

 

On June 19, 2015, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter appointed Army LTG Michael Linnington to serve as Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).  The newly formed agency is now responsible for investigations, searches, recoveries, identifications and repatriations of service members and personnel classified as POW/MIA, primarily from WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and others as designated.

DPAAs soft roll out came in January 2015, with the consolidation of  the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO).  JPACs former Commander, Maj Gen Kelly McKeague, USAF,  assumed the interim position as Deputy Commander of DPAA, under Interim Commander Rear Adm Michael Franken, USN, who has moved on to become Deputy Commander for Military Operations at U.S. Africa Command.

It is my understanding that McKeague is currently serving as Deputy Director of DPAA; however, it is unknown if he will serve a tour of duty in that position now that the agency has a director in place.  In my opinion, McKeague would be extremely helpful, dealing with the complexities of  global field operations at this point in time.

The Linnington announcement comes less than a week before families with loved ones still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War will be attending their annual League meeting in Washington, D.C. at which time DPAA will concurrently present a briefing to the group. (MIA families from WWII and Korea will meet in August for a similar briefing).

Now that Linnington has been selected, it is likely that he will attend the two briefings — even if able to make only a brief appearance at each.  Families at the League meeting will be eager to meet him and to be reassured of his commitment to do everything possible to bring home MIAs from the Vietnam War and to quell any fears to the contrary (see update below).

A native of Cape May, N.J., Linnington is a 1980 graduate of  West Point, at which time he was  commissioned as an infantry officer.  Later, the General received his MS in Applied Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., along with a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C.

Having served in key command and staff positions during his 33 years of Army service, Linnington has accrued many domestic and international tours of duty.  From 2002 to 2004 he took command of the 3d Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 101st Airborne Div (AASLT), both in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq.

Comfortable in the D.C. arena, Linnington has served multiple tours there, and in July 2013 assumed duties as Military Deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness).  The General is not new to the accounting community, having served as an advisor to Franken and McKeague since the inception of DPAA, which places him in a much better position than someone coming into a start-up agency of sorts with no prior knowledge of the system.

According to recent press coverage, the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer was tasked with assisting DPAA during the transition period with a workplace assessment to develop performance measures and a new organizational structure.  It is likely that Linnington will place priority on reviewing all the recommendations compiled by the various work groups, especially as they relate to personnel.  The agency is still in the growth mode.

Insiders say the competition for the job was tough and attracted a lot of high level candidates.  From what I can tell, Linnington appears to be an excellent choice.  I wish him the best.

UPDATE — June 30, 2015

Linnington is now an Army veteran after his recent retirement, enabling him to begin a long-term civilian career as Director of DPAA. 

Discussing his new position at the recent meeting in D.C. with the National League of POW/MIA Families, Linnington told attendees that he intended to stay in the position for 10 years.  The families expressed their overwhelming approval after having seen a number of changes in recent years and, consequently,  hoped the permanent position would be filled by someone like Linnington. 


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 with loved ones still unaccounted-for in Southeast Asia.

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