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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Repatriation of Jerry’s Remains — What’s Taking So Long?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 @ 11:02 PM  posted by Elaine


Maj Ed Nevgloski, USMC, (standing) and LtC Todd Emoto, USA, (sitting/background), conducting a JPAC presentation for Craig Zimmer (right corner) and his brother, Brett Davis, during their visit to Vietnam, 1/2009

If you’re wondering why it has taken 40 years to bring Jerry’s case to the table, here is a short history lesson: Following the Paris Peace Accord of ’73, America withdrew its troops from Vietnam, leaving behind approx 1,500 POW/MIA. Recently, I found a 1985 Document online, indicating that Jerry’s site was considered probable for “further investigation and possibly excavation,” but its validity wasn’t tested at the time because our relationship with Vietnam was still on shaky ground.

In 1993, JPACs predecessor — the Joint Task Force Full Accounting (JTFA) — was permitted to do a major survey of all the known sites associated with our missing servicemen in Vietnam. However, when JTFA visited the area believed to be Jerry’s crash site, they were directed to the outer edge of the debris field at the bottom of a 400 meter mountain, instead of the actual impact site at the top. Given what they saw, the team assumed that all evidence had been washed away and, consequently, placed the case in the “No Further Pursuit” category. However, had they gone up the mountain, it is likely that Jerry’s case could have been resolved 16 years ago. On the other hand, I do have a better appreciation of how difficult JTFAs job was two decades ago, because the relationship between Vietnam and America is still a work-in-progress in 2010.

Our family literally stumbled on a discrepancy in the crash site coordinates that led us on a journey to find Jerry’s site — little did we know that we would also find actual pieces of his aircraft, 40 years later. And rather than vilifying the government for a shoddy investigation, our family went after the facts doing good old-fashioned footwork in Vietnam with friends and locals; networking with Marines to better pinpoint the crash site; getting the word out through the media; and conducting online research to better understand everything else. Armed with a 36-page powerpoint presentation put together by my husband, Ron, we delivered the goods to JPAC, and they responded positively to our well-researched investigation. And while we haven’t brought Jerry’s remains home yet, we are a lot closer than we were 40 years ago.

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