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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 March, 2015

 

 QUEEN ELIZABETH PRESENTS BRITISH PARATROOPER LANCE CORPORAL JOSHUA LEAKEY WITH THE VICTORIA CROSS

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth presents British Paratrooper Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey with the Victoria Cross, awarded for valor in combat.

Her Majesty the Queen presented British Paratrooper Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey with the Victoria Cross, awarded for valor in combat.  The formal ceremony took place April 14, 2015.  Leakey joins a very prestigious group of VC recipients, of which he is only the 15th awarded since WWII and the 5th since 1982. [First introduced in 1856 by Queen Victoria, the medal has been awarded to a total of 1358 recipients].   Said Leakey:  “It is massively humbling….  My family is very proud and happy, but the lads in the battalion know this isn’t something you seek out.  You just do what you deem necessary on the day, and anyone of them could be standing where I am today.”

Thanks to Air Commodore Nick Laird CBE, RAF (See Laird at 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball) , I learned that British Paratrooper Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey, 27, was recently awarded (Feb. 26, 2015) the Victoria Cross (VC), which is equivalent to our Medal of Honor (MOH). Laird was proud of Leakey’s accomplishment and shared the news with my husband, Ron, and others in the states.

As with our MOH, the VC is awarded to recipients who have gone far beyond the call of duty in combat, which accurately describes Leakey’s actions when a joint force of British soldiers, paratroopers and US Marines were attacked in 2013 by approximately 20 Taliban while on patrol in Afghanistan.  And although Leakey received the VC, he reiterated that the prestige of such an honor extends to all those in his unit —  1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.  From my research, this Para is the best of the best, and when one of their own is honored, the message is clear — they are all VC material.

The fact that the joint patrol involved U.S. Marines from Camp Leatherneck, along with UK Army Soldiers and paratroopers from Camp Bastion, both located at that time in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was another aspect of the story that caught my attention — I always appreciate good battlefield stories about our Marines. Wounded during the patrol, but now completely recovered, was Marine Capt. Brandon Bocian, a member of the command group, to whom Leakey rendered first aid during the heat of battle. Said Bocian of Leakey’s battlefield actions: “I hadn’t met Lance Corporal Leakey prior to that day but am grateful for his actions.” Commenting on Leakey’s VC award, Bocian said he was happy to hear that Leakey was formally recognized, adding that he deserved it.

Capt Bocian, USMC, was wounded in Afghanistan,  and UK Paratrooper Lance Corp. Leakey risked his life to help evacuate Bocian.

Capt Brandon Bocian, USMC, was wounded in Afghanistan, and UK Para Lance Corporal Leakey risked his life to help evacuate Bocian, while under intense fire.

In my opinion — our troops can never have enough friends in combat, and they don’t come much better than the Brits.  Congratulations, Lance Corporal Leakey!