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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NOTE:  BLOG POSTS ARE NOT UPDATED, SO INFORMATION MAY HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME.

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.

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