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.

Twitter

Vietnam Map

Clear
High 86°/Low 76°

Da Nang, Vietnam Current Weather

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

U.S. MIA RECOVERIES: IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE?

Thursday, July 14, 2011 @ 06:07 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

To all families and veterans with a relative or friend that disappeared in North Vietnam during the war, you will be interested in the following editorial that was just published in the Sacramento Bee and other newspapers around the country. If I’m reading it correctly, the recently revived U.S./Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs is in trouble, and the problem is not on the Russian side. It appears that the U.S. Department of Defense may be cutting the funding for the commission.

Also, after many families and organizations repeatedly questioned the wisdom of the Congressional mandate in the 2010 Defense Authorization Act, requiring JPAC to double its identifications annually by 2015, it now appears that the DoD is having second thoughts about their promise to fund this expansion of duties; however, the law is still on the books, but there is no way that JPAC can meet its requirements, both in the field and laboratory, without additional funding — clearly this is a case of mixed messages. The DoD still has an opportunity to do the right thing. We have thousands of Marines and soldiers serving in harm’s way today — I hope we send them the right message.

As the former widow of an MIA left behind in Vietnam, I expect that we will hear more about these developments at the upcoming National League meeting in Washinton, D.C., and I will advise everyone of the situation after my return. In the meantime, please read the following Editorial. The names listed at its conclusion are respected leaders within their organizations and have worked hard on behalf of our MIAs from WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Cold War.

EDITORIAL:     By VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES

DOD BREAKING SACRED PROMISE WITH POW/MIA FAMILIES

President Obama is a strong supporter of our nation’s veterans, military and their families, as well as the families of almost 88,000 missing servicemen and civilians, yet some within his Administration do not share that same level of commitment.

They would instead disregard White House guidance and abandon a Presidential Commission that was created in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin — and supported by every American president since — to help determine the fates of Americans who disappeared behind the Iron Curtain. They would also recall a multiyear budget submission for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), whose worldwide mission to recover and identify America’s fallen is stretched thin by manning constraints and laboratory space.

After nine months of broken promises, we cannot sit quietly and allow senior officials in the Department of Defense to redirect funding, transfer researchers and linguists, and jeopardize any possibility of mission success for the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs. The Defense Department had previously agreed to reinstate by the end of June what it had taken from the Joint Commission, but to date, DOD has chosen to ignore the policy and funding recommendations made by the White House Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council.

Such actions will negate 19 years of slow but increasingly steady progress that has permitted U.S. investigators to access Russia’s central military archives and to interview potential eyewitnesses. Such actions will also contradict a show of support by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who last month appointed a new co- chairman and more than 30 commissioners to their side of the Joint Commission.

Ongoing DOD actions will make it nearly impossible for our government to locate information and/or remains to help determine the fates of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans who may have perished in the former Soviet Union or in the lands of their allies during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War. The Defense Department’s actions will help ensure mission failure, which will render the Joint Commission expendable, all because DOD wants to control a Presidential Commission instead of strongly supporting it.

We also cannot acquiesce to a relook of JPAC’s budget, which in these austere fiscal times means reduced funding. Congress has mandated that JPAC begin recovering and identifying 200 or more MIAs annually by 2015. This is more than double their current success rate, and without increased funding, it will be an impossible goal to reach.

When President Obama spoke at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, he reminded us of the debt America and the entire world owes to our military — for their benevolence as well as their resolve. He honored the memory, service and sacrifice of those men and women who gave their all, and he offered assurances to thousands of Americans who continue to seek answers — the families of almost 78,000 missing and unaccounted-for from World War II, 8,000 from Korea, 1,680 from Vietnam, and one each from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the countless veterans who served by their side.

Our nation’s fullest possible accounting mission is a national priority that the president is committed to, a mission that other nations wish they could emulate, and a mission in which success can only be measured by recovering, identifying, and returning those we send to war back to their families and to their country.

On behalf of millions of members of our nation’s largest, oldest, and most influential veterans and POW/MIA family organizations, we call upon President Obama to immediately direct DOD to restore funding and personnel to the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission, and to protect JPAC’s proposed budgets. We also urge our fellow veterans and their families, as well as all Americans, to contact the president and their members of Congress to urge them to live up to our nation’s sacred obligation to never leave a service member behind.

JAMES B. KING
Executive Director American Veterans
4647 Forbes Boulevard
Washington, DC 20024

HERB ROSENBLEETH, Col., USA-Ret.
Executive Director Jewish War Veterans of the USA
1811 R Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

ANN MILLS-GRIFFITHS
Executive Director National League of POW/MIA Families
5673 Columbia Pike, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20006

ROBERT E. WALLACE
Executive Director
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.
200 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

BARRY A.JESINOSKI
National Executive Director
Disabled American Veterans
807 Maine Avenue, SW
Lanham, MD 20706-4380

MICHAEL A. BLUM
Executive Director
Marine Corps League
P. O. Box 3070
Merrifield, VA 22116-3070

PETER S. GAYTAN
Executive Director
The American Legion
1608 K Street, NW
Falls Church, VA 22041

RICHARD F. WEIDMAN
Exec. Dir. for Policy and Government Affairs
Vietnam Veterans of America
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Leave a Reply