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.
Posts Tagged ‘LtC Todd Emoto’
Searching for the remains of my first husband, Capt. Jerry Zimmer, USMC – an F4B jet pilot, shot down in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, August 29, 1969, along with his navigator, 1st Lt. Al Graf, has given me greater appreciation for the challenges associated with this very complicated pursuit.
WHERE TO NEXT?
In August 2014, I learned that two-thirds of Jerry’s and Al’s crash site had been excavated to completion and that anthropologists with the recently deactivated Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), now integrated into the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), had closed that portion of the site with no remains found to date. However all is not hopeless, officials may now survey the last third part of the site, if recently found evidence indicates that remains may be in that area.
Recovered life support equipment, considered important to the future direction of Jerry’s case, was sent in September 2014 to the Life Science Equipment Laboratory (LSEL) at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, for analysis.
TURNING POINT IN THE CASE?
Among the pieces of evidence sent to John Goines, Chief of the LSEL, were boot fragments. This seemingly innocuous evidence formed the basis of what turned out to be an important find. The fragments were from two different types of boots — one a flight boot and the other a jungle boot. Combined with other evidence/data, Goines was able to confirm that two people were in the cockpit at the time of impact.
On a personal level, I can honestly say it helps to be reminded that the incident happened quickly and that Jerry and Al did not have time to suffer. Maybe the boot evidence and other life support equipment will lead to a turning point in the case.
I feel upbeat for the first time in a long time, and I think you’ll understand if you have time to read the full story.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MIA AGENCY LEADERSHIP
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made good on his promise to stand-up the new Department of Defense agency now charged with accounting for our Missing-in-Action service members and personnel dating back to WWII. The soft rollout came Friday, January 9, 2015, leaving no doubt that the agency’s interim leadership would be in place before Hagel’s departure from office; however, it was made clear that the overall agency would continue to evolve throughout the year.
REAR ADM. MICHAEL FRANKEN
Hagel hand-picked Rear Adm. Michael Franken to serve as the agency’s interim director, describing Franken in a statement as a “highly qualified leader who has a strong operational and policy background.” A native of Nebraska with a US Navy career spanning nearly three decades, Franken has accrued impressive credentials, serving in high level positions, including commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and vice director for strategy, plans, and policy at U.S. Central Command. After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Franken helped establish “Deep Blue,” the Navy’s operational think tank that deals with classified missions.
Although Franken’s resume covers many leadership tours aboard ship and ashore, MIA recovery efforts will present a completely new challenge. I was impressed with his written statement to reporters: “I have much to learn,” said Franken, who will undoubtedly get up to speed quickly.
MAJ GEN KELLY MC KEAGUE
Hagel also named Maj Gen Kelly McKeague, USAF, to serve as deputy director, which I believe was an excellent choice because of McKeague’s familiarity with the MIA community and operations, which is likely to be a plus for Franken as he learns the ropes.
McKeague’s 30-year military career began in Georgia after graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology with a BS in Engineering. He spent a decade as a civil engineering officer with multiple assignments at base, major command and US Air Force Headquarters. By 1995, McKeague focused on the National Guard, serving in a number of leadership positions for 20 years, based primarily on Capitol Hill or the greater D.C. area.
In October 2012, McKeague headed for his home state of Hawaii, after being named Commander of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) – the controversial military command, now absorbed into the new agency, along with the Defense Prisoner of War, Missing Personnel Office (DPMO).
Shortly after McKeague’s JPAC tour began at Hickam AFB in Honolulu, he was summoned to Capitol Hill, only this time it was not a career maker but a potential career breaker. McKeague faced a Congressional grilling in which the newcomer was expected to account for JPACs perceived shortcomings that had been brewing well before his arrival, focusing namely on JPACs Central Identification Laboratory. McKeague held his own, earning the respect of many MIA families, including mine, for his compassion and ability to keep the mission going during tough times. Obviously this assessment did not go unnoticed by the agency’s leadership selection team.
Army Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, military deputy to the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, will be the agency’s senior adviser to Christine Wormuth, undersecretary of defense for policy. Wormuth’s office will oversee the agency.
Preparing to depart office as soon as the Senate approves Ashton Carter’s appointment as the next Secretary of Defense, Hagel is using his final days to tie up loose ends and can now put a check next to the MIA agency block.
Although considered an excellent choice to serve as the next head of the DoD, Carter will have a lot on his plate and be grateful for the roll-out of the new agency, since Hagel knows only too well that his successor will need to be ready on Day One to expect the unexpected in his new job.