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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Posts Tagged ‘CG 3rd MAW Maj Gen Drew O’Donnell’

Preview 2016 Vietnam War League Meeting & DoD Briefing

Monday, June 13, 2016 @ 12:06 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis


A discussion between League Chair Ann Mills-Griffiths & DPAA Director Michael Linnington during the 2015 annual Vietnam War meeting for MIA families.

League Chair Ann Mills-Griffiths & DPAA Director Michael Linnington communicating during the 2015 annual Vietnam War meeting for MIA families.


The joint meeting of the 2016 National League of Families (aka, League) and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is an important annual event, held in D.C., and combined to allow Vietnam War MIA families an opportunity to be among others coping with the loss of a loved one in Southeast Asia, while still seeking answers that can only come through official US Government channels.

The three-day event, June 22 – 25, 2016,* is tightly scheduled with League Chair Ann Mills-Griffiths presiding for the 47th Annual League event! All presentations delivered by DPAA leadership and staff, League officials and special guests are timed for efficiency, and Mills-Griffiths  keeps the program on a roll.

Every time I attend the annual meeting, I am amazed at the quality of the presentations and number of experts in attendance.  I always leave with a feeling that I’ve learned something new or gained a better understanding of something I had never been able to truly grasp in the past.

NOTE: The initial schedule made available to MIA families may eventually include one or two changes related to a particular speaker and/or a presenter’s topic, but below is a partial list of the 2016 presentation agenda:

Mills-Griffiths, Assessing the Reorganization of Today;

DPAA Director Michael Linnington, Today’s Mission, Priority & Objectives;

DPAA Director Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Thomas Holland, Strategic Partnerships Update;

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Post-Vietnam Trip (Tentative);

DPAA Director Asia Pacific Directorate Col Michael Gann, USMC, Asia & Pacific Regional Approach;

Commander Navy Expeditionary Command RADM Frank Morneau, USN, Maximizing Capabilities to Expand the Accounting Process;

Others on the list are people that most of us are familiar with, such as Richard Childress, Senior League Policy Advisor; General Robert “Doc” Foglesong, USAF, (Ret.), US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs; Johnie Webb, DPAA Deputy Director Outreach & Communications; Bob Wallace, Executive Director & Assistant Adjutant General, VFW; and many more who bring so much value to this annual event.

Also, a special welcome to two members of Director Linnington’s leadership team attending and/or presenting for the first time at the annual event: BG Mark Spindler, USA, DPAA Deputy Director, who will discuss the agency’s Operational Perspective Worldwide; and Fern Sumpter Winbush, DPAA Principal Staff Director, who will focus on the agency’s role in facilitating Family and Veteran Engagement.  I look forward to meeting them and hope they enjoy the event.

*If you are an MIA family member and have not registered but would like to attend the Government Briefing ONLY, please contact your casualty officer. Now that the deadline for registering has closed, I don’t know if there are exceptions; however, I do know that credentials are required of all attendees.


Anyone who has read my posts about the Regional DPAA meetings knows of my respect for these events held throughout the country. However, it is tough to compare the annual meeting to the regionals, because the annual event is dedicated to issues involving Vietnam War losses and recoveries, while the regionals cover all pertinent past wars.

Although some of the DoD experts at the Vietnam War annual meeting also participate in the one for the Korean War and Cold War, the majority of those attending our meeting have a long history as analysts, historians and investigators in Southeast Asia. This is very important, because Vietnam War families have been involved with efforts to find loved ones for years, and many are highly knowledgeable about the ins and outs of their loved one’s case and all the nuts and bolts in the recovery system, so it helps to have government attendees fluent, as well.

Jay Veith, League Intelligence & Research Advisor will discuss Archival Research & Investigation Potential at the 2016 meeting.

Jay Veith, League Intelligence & Research Advisor, will discuss Archival Research & Investigation Potential at the 2016 meeting.

The expertise that DoD participants bring is especially apparent during the Department of Defense Q&A session, held on the last official day of the meeting. Families are given an opportunity to ask questions, and some are very penetrating, historically and otherwise. The DoD is adept at answering most questions, and they do a great job.  Mills-Griffiths is on deck ensuring that  questions are not personal, as in discussing a particular family member’s case, and that answers are technically correct – Ann is legendary for her unbelievable recall of events dating back decades.

I will cover the 2016 event in a future blog and showcase many of the people in attendance. Please stay connected.


Sunday, April 26, 2015 @ 11:04 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

(L-R, 1st Row)  Tour Leaders Ed Garr, (1st),  John Powell, 5th

Row 1:  (L-R) Ed Garr in the black shirt and John Powell in the white, served as MHT tour leaders for this August 2013 group.  I was in Da Nang, where they had a stopover, and Ed invited me to join the group for dinner.  Although we had communicated by email, it was our first face-to-face meeting, and we liked each other immediately. 

It is so difficult to lose someone you care about, and Ed Garr is one of those who left behind a lot of people who cared about him, and I was one of them.   I met Ed in recent years, and we stayed in touch by email – his were the one-liner type, asking me how Jerry’s case was going and when I was returning to Vietnam. I always laughed, but when I eventually met Ed in person – in Vietnam, of course – I realized that his emails were classic Ed.  But even more important, I soon learned that Ed was a one-off, an endearing trait in my books.

Ed passed away, April 19, 2015, after suffering a stroke in March while traveling in Vietnam. He spent his final days in Ocala, Florida, where he and his wife, Ora Lee, lived for decades and raised a large family. Married 62 years, Ora Lee was the love of Ed’s life, and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren never ventured too far away from where the family’s patriarch and matriarch began their dynasty six decades earlier.

Known as Capt. Ed Garr, 82, an enlisted Marine, who received a battlefield commission along the way, Ed served in Korea under the command of Chesty Puller and later served two tours in Vietnam. Ed was part of the now infamous Starlite Operation and eventually carved out a well-suited MOS in the security field with the Military Police.

After his retirement, Ed worked in a couple of different capacities, but eventually returned to his roots in a manner of speaking, serving as a tour guide for Military Historical Tours (MHT). With approximately 125 tours to Vietnam under his belt, Ed developed an expertise in all things related to Vietnam.

And although Ed had enough anecdotes that he could keep a crowd anchored in place, his style was to let the veterans talk about their experiences while touring in country. Ed understood that some wanted to revisit a country in transition, while others were hoping to make their own transition, as in finally seeking closure, and Ed was there to help on both accounts. Capt Ed Garr will be missed!

For an insider’s look at Ed’s world as a tour guide, please feel free to click on  In The Footsteps of Heroes   in which I focus on a few MHT tours, led by Ed and LTC John Powell, US Army, (ret).

2011 Dec Tiger Mtn one armed man

Garr often tried to assist veterans who were looking for their long-lost buddies in Vietnam, classified as MIAs.  This image depicts Ed communicating with a local villager in the Tiger Mtn area of the A Shau Valley.  He was hoping to gather information that would assist LtC Mike Sprayberry, USA, (ret), with his efforts to bring home six soldiers, who were listed as KIA/NBR, as a result of a battle, April 25, 1968, for which Sprayberry earned the coveted Medal of Honor.  Sprayberry led a daring, successful nighttime rescue of soldiers from his unit, pinned down by the North Vietnamese.  Unable to extract the KIAs, Sprayberry has spent several years, trying to finish the mission of bringing home the remains of those who didn’t make it 47 years ago.  This Memorial Day, Filmmaker Norman Lloyd’s documentary about the search, The MIAs on Tiger Mountain, has been selected to be in the G.I. Film Festival in Washington DC.  The Sprayberrys are hoping that the film will recognize Lloyd for his efforts and bring greater awareness of the Sprayberry’s efforts to find the six MIAs on Tiger Mountain. 

Please visit  http://giff15.com/movies/the-mias-on-tiger-mountain/  to see a short preview of the movie and hopefully cast your vote in support of it.