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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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Posts Tagged ‘Casualty Officer’

MIA in Vietnam: Why I Need to Bring Home Jerry’s Remains

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 @ 11:04 AM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

Jerry and Craig in Beaufort, SC -- Jerry's last duty station before deploying to Vietnam. Photo: 1968

Every family with an MIA in Vietnam or elsewhere in the world has a story to tell of why they want their loved one’s remains to come home. I am not sure if I answered my own question in this blog, but I am dedicated to seeing the journey through, no matter how it ends.

When Jerry left for Vietnam in 1969, we said good-bye to each other at Logan Airport in Boston, MA. Like all other young pilots, he was excited to get over to Vietnam and join his Marine Corps buddies from Basic School and Flight School. I never thought that our tearful good-bye on a cold day in February, four decades ago, would be our last. During Jerry’s time in country, I watched every TV segment about the war, knew the names of battles and cared deeply about our military—not just Jerry, but everyone fighting in that faraway country for a cause that seemed justified at the time. Everything changed in a matter of minutes when a Marine Corps casualty officer showed up at my door six months later, telling me that Jerry was not coming home in a casket or otherwise. We were a week away from R&R in Hawaii. I was packed and ready to go. The Zimmers were arriving the next morning to take Craig back to the farm during my absence. It wasn’t to be. Read more