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.


Vietnam Map


Elaine’s Q&A: #1

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:04 PM  posted by Elaine

All excavations in Vietnam are plagued by acidic soil, which is compromising our MIAs' remains at an alarming rate -- time is running out!

Since we began our mission a couple of years ago to repatriate Jerry’s remains from Vietnam, I have fielded a lot of questions and thought it would be useful to do a Q&A. If you have a question, please send it to me through our “Contact” page, and I’ll try to answer. Thanks!

Q. Two highpoints in the search for Jerry?
A. Finding Jerry’s crash site and learning that parts recovered were authenticated, as belonging to an F4, by NATEC at North Island Naval Air Station.

Q. Where does Jerry’s case stand?

A. It’s on JPAC’s Excavation List, which is a huge move forward.

Q. Do you know when the site will be excavated?
A. No. JPAC has a policy of not giving families exact dates; however, we believe excavation could be this fiscal year or early next.

Q. What do you fear most at this point?
A. Not being successful in bringing home Jerry’s remains.

Q. What if Al Graf’s remains are found and not Jerry’s?
A. That’s a very real possibility and would have its rewards, too.

Q. Why have you been so vocal about the case after so many years of silence?
A. I actually did not know until 2 years ago that repatriation was even a remote possibility. I’ve always been a very private person and never asked anyone outside our family for help; however, getting the job done has required “going public.”

Q. What was one of the toughest steps you took to go public?
A. Until recently, I had never written in first person and couldn’t imagine doing it about losing Jerry. Then it became apparent that I would need to tell my story, instead of someone else’s, to launch our effort to bring home Jerry’s remains.

Q. Next toughest move?
A. Talking in a public forum, as I did recently when the Vietnam Dignity Wall came to San Diego. I was very concerned about losing it and not delivering an effective presentation. I made it through, thank God!

Leave a Reply