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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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Archive for February, 2011

MIA Primer – Five Lessons Learned

Friday, February 18, 2011 @ 07:02 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

Craig's initial attempts at negotiating with the police were at the village level in this building, later ending--to no avail--at the regional police hq in Tam Ky. Although disappointed at not being able to visit his dad's crash site, Craig learned a valuable lesson in the art of negotiating -- different cultures frequently don't think alike.


Lesson #1: Vietnam’s Turf: The Vietnamese government is especially cognizant of the official leader-to-leader format for negotiating all matters relating to MIA recovery efforts. This is one of the reasons why private groups are not sanctioned to conduct recoveries. Such a format allows the Vietnamese to tap into opportunities with the US Government on a long-term basis.

Lesson #2: Money Talks: Vietnam is still a poor country by our standards. And as most know, we did not pay reparations upon our departure in 1975. Instead we chose to help rebuild the country and invest in its future (the USA was the country’s largest investor in ’09). Everything we do in Vietnam comes with a price tag, including recovery efforts. At the beginning, the Vietnamese were doing recoveries on a gratis basis, presumably hoping to land the bigger fish—namely, trade relations, etc. But when it became known that we were paying for recoveries in Laos, the Vietnamese decided they could use some assistance, as well. Revenue is revenue! Read more