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

Archive for May, 2010

The DoD Wants to “Redirect Resources” Away from MIAs in Vietnam

Saturday, May 15, 2010 @ 03:05 AM  posted by Elaine

After writing two blogs about my concern for the future of our MIAs in Vietnam, I ran across a troubling document online a couple of days ago. The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) completed an assessment (June 2009) of JPACs Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) and made several recommendations to the Secretary of Defense and others in the DoD.

Confirming my worst fears was the following recommendations, pertaining to MIAs in Vietnam:

“…the simplest way to increase identifications without reducing the number of Joint Field Activities (JFAs) would be to redirect resources from Southeast Asian recoveries to field operations for the other conflicts with a higher probability of remains recovery. “

The report goes on to say that resources could be increased in the South Pacific for air losses during WWII, Europe and “perhaps South Korea.” “Recovering more WWII sites would be fruitful because of the typically larger numbers involved with one site (often reaching as high as 20) and the comparatively low cost.”
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Don’t Leave Our Vietnam MIAs Behind!

Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 11:05 PM  posted by Elaine

 

Jerry at VMFA-542 Ops

This is a tough one for me to write, because I don’t want to mislead people into thinking that repatriating MIAs from Vietnam is more important than bringing them home from WWII, Korea and other wartime locations.  My concern is for the urgency of getting remains out of Vietnam before they have completely disintegrated.  I don’t have a timeline, but I am told by knowledgeable sources that the situation is critical in Vietnam.   

Because of the acidic soil, JPAC typically doesn’t find remains intact like one might imagine.  We read about spectacular recoveries in the South Pacific, but seldom do we receive that type of feedback from Vietnam.  Plus, the use of high tech instruments for locating remains seem to be less applicable in Vietnam because of the topography and lack of sufficient recoverable matter — perhaps a bone and/or a tooth may be all that is found by old fashioned methods of sifting through buckets of soil.  Some might say:  “Well, why spend all that time and money for so little?”  My response:  “That little bit of remains was someone’s dad, brother, son or husband, and the family wants whatever nature has left behind.   Keep in mind, all those MIAs answered the call when our country needed them, and our country now needs to step up to its obligation.”  Read more