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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.

INSIDE JPAC – LITERALLY!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 09:01 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

JPAC Hq in Hawaii is nondescript, except for the familiar signage, displaying the black and white image that has become the symbol for all POWs and MIAs lost in former wars, especially in Vietnam.

Like many others, I knew nothing of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) until a few years ago—mainly because I had spent most of my life running away from the horror of losing Jerry, rather than in the other direction. After learning that Jerry’s remains might be recoverable, I changed course. At the time, I truly could not have imagined where this journey would lead me.

Although it was hard to open up to friends about the loss of Jerry after so many years, nothing was more difficult than asking JPAC for help in trying to recover Jerry’s and Al’s remains. Thanks to some very special people within the organization, our family learned how to maneuver through the system. While nothing is perfect—including JPAC—this is the group that we have come to rely upon and respect for doing a job that can be exceedingly thankless, not to speak of depressing, considering the number of MIA cases, left over from WWII, Korea, Cold War and Vietnam.

At first glimpse, JPAC is unobtrusive in its largely quiet location on Hickam. The organization is housed in several small buildings that form a rectangular maze. But when you see the familiar POW/MIA logo on one of the buildings, the site stands out among all others—especially to someone whose loved one is still missing in Vietnam.

Dating back to the 1970s, JPAC’s name may have changed over the years, but the organization’s goal has not. Nowhere is this commitment more evident than inside JPACs headquarters on Hickam AFB in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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