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Our Mission:

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 February, 2010

I leave for Vietnam in 3 weeks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 @ 09:02 PM  posted by Elaine

I have lots to do, and no thanks to the snowstorms for slowing down the Visa process at the Vietnamese Embassy in D. C., along with Tet – Vietnamese New Year (everything is closed for a week).  Gene Mares will be accompanying me again, and our goal is to find out more about Jerry’s crash from local sources.  We will be linking up with Mr. Du – our former Viet Cong source, and spending more time checking out the mountainous terrain near the crash site.  We hope to see to Doug Reese and Hua who helped us during our last visit – Doug is a facilitator and Hua is an amazing guide.  These two people are responsible for finding Mr. Du, who in turn, led us to Jerry’s crash site – after 40 years!  Also, we will be working with our Aussie friend, Shane Wall, of Trans Linqual Express.  Not only does Shane speak several languages that make him a very smart entrepreneur, but Shane is an amazing writer — visit http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/512797/shane_wall_vietnam.html for some interesting cultural and travel stories about Vietnam.

I’m excited about visiting JPAC’s Det2 in Hanoi and linking up with LTC Todd (Quas) Emoto, USA, who is the Commander of the unit, and Maj Ed (Ski) Nevgloski, USMC, who is the Asst. Commander.  Both are finishing their two year tours in Vietnam.  Todd is with the Army’s Special Forces and is awaiting his orders, while Ed will be back with his fellow Marines when he reports for duty at Quantico’s School of Advanced Warfighting. Both guys have been amazingly supportive of our efforts to bring Jerry home, and I’m sure that other families have had equally good experiences with them, as well.

On a personal note, Ed and his wife, Autumn, just became parents again for the second time, on Thursday, Feb. 4th at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.  Brooke Elaine Nevgloski weighed in at 7.45 oz.    Check her out!  Brooke is a very lucky girl – Edward will be a fantastic big brother.  Needless to say, I will be thrilled to see them, and I will take lots of pictures.

Welcome to Brooke E. Nevgloski

What does Ron think of Elaine’s obsession with Jerry’s repatriation?

Thursday, February 11, 2010 @ 09:02 PM  posted by Elaine

Ron is a former Marine helicopter pilot who also served in Vietnam, and he is as passionate about repatriating Jerry’s remains as I am.  In fact, one of the incredible things about Marines is that they don’t leave their men behind.  Ron and I have been married nearly 40 years, and he understands better than anyone else of my need to bring Jerry home.  Without Ron’s help, this case would never have advanced to its current level of awaiting excavation.  For many months prior to my March 2009 visit to Vietnam in which Gene Mares climbed to the crash site, Ron spent hundreds of hours – truly – working evenings and weekends, to pinpoint Jerry’s accurate crash location.  He ordered Vietnam era maps and emailed hundreds of Marines around the country, ultimately identifying nearly everyone who was in the air with Jerry and Al, to determine the accurate crash coordinates.  He also talked to retired MajGen Rollings – a 2nd Lt. in ’69 and Platoon leader of the Recon team for which Jerry and Al were providing close air support.  And it was Ron who found retired Col Earl “Pearl” Wederbrook, who led us to Col Bruce Neuberger, Commanding Officer of NATEC at North Island in San Diego.  For me, one of the sweetest moments in our mission was when Col Neuberger’s “Phantom Phixers” identified the aircraft parts from the debris field, retrieved by Mr. Du and Gene, as belonging to an F4 Phantom – I sat and cried when I read his remarks.  I’ve never met Col Neuberger, but his willingness to help us, changed the course of our investigation, and I can’t thank him enough.