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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What Will It Take To Bring Home Our MIAs?

Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:07 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

Jerry's son, Craig, and his family celebrate this year's July 4th holiday at the family's beach house in R.I. Jerry would be proud of Craig!

Bringing home our MIAs will take “money,” which means that the DoD needs to keep its promise to increase JPACs budget so that the lab can double the current number of identifications by 2015. This funding must come very soon, since the mandate will require a variety of changes, if we’re to bring home our MIAs from ALL wartime locations. Equally important is that the DoD, of which includes DPMO and JPAC, must have the will to continue this important mission for years to come.

I have no doubt that JPAC has the passion to continue doing the job. And whether you like JPAC or not, this group has developed global relationships, enabling us to partner with countries where our MIAs exist. This is a huge part of the recovery equation! Yes, there are volunteer groups and families with enough means and talent to fund a recovery team, but we’re talking about thousands of MIAs. This effort requires a mature organization with years of experience in conducting multiple investigations, recoveries and identifications at one time. This is what JPAC does, and this is why we need to help the organization work faster and better.

Why is money such a big issue? For starters, MIA recoveries require an enormous amount of administrative oversight, operational manpower, technical expertise and the list goes on. In terms of manpower, a small–but important–percentage comes from the active duty military; however, there is a large civilian population involved in every aspect of the organization, from headquarters in Hawaii to each detachment in the field (and locals in each country). The lab continues to be a huge part of the equation, requiring highly skilled practitioners, who are critical to the identification process. Of course, like all major organizations, JPAC has a lot more on its plate than what I’ve mentioned above, including a huge range of humanitarian and educational pursuits.

For the 2010 Defense Authorization Act to mandate that JPAC double its number of MIA identifications by 2015, the DoD needs to “keep its promise” to increase funding for the mandate. Then, it is my hope that JPAC can create an equitable arrangement so that MIAs from all wartime locations have a chance to come home, especially while their families are still living.

Thanks to the Internet, our MIAs finally have a voice. I am monitoring the funding issue very closely and will keep everyone informed of the DoDs follow-through on its promise to fund the increase in identifications.

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