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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Keeping it real: This mage was part of a PowerPoint presentation presented during the 2014 League meeting, depicting actual Vietnam War field operations.

Keeping it real: This slide was part of a PowerPoint presentation during the 2014 League meeting, depicting a collage of field operations that took place while searching for our MIAs from the Vietnam War.

 ANNOUNCING

THE 46TH ANNUAL MEETING*

NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES

OF AMERICAN PRISONERS AND MISSING

IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

JUNE 24 – 27, 2015

HILTON CRYSTAL CITY HOTEL**

ARLINGTON, VA

_________________________________________________ 

UPDATE:  PREVIEW 2016 LEAGUE & DPAA MEETING

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

The annual League meeting has been a must-attend event for more than four decades, and 2015 will be no exception. In fact, this year’s meeting is more important than ever for Vietnam War families with loved ones still unaccounted-for in Southeast Asia.

There is strength in numbers, and our attendance will not only demonstrate the League’s strength, but it will also send a message to the newly formed Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that families support their efforts, and we are eager to hear DPAA tell us they are committed to ours.

IT TAKES A COMMUNITY

The meeting is expected to include some new faces and hopefully a number of returnees that have stood by us through the good and bad times. I continue to learn more from these annual meetings than I ever thought possible – in essence, they are the closest connection that families have, as a whole,  to a transparent environment within the accounting community – largely because of League Chairman Ann Mills Griffiths, who has been the League’s guiding force for nearly four decades.

 The League supports families in numerous ways, but neither Ann nor other members of the board and key advocates in veteran and political circles can do it all. Family members are the lifeblood of the mission to bring home our loved ones.

ESTABLISHING CONNECTIONS

If you have created MIA business cards, bring a bunch — remember DPAA is newly formed.   I recommend that cards include your loved one’s name, rank, branch of service, official date of death and, if desired, a thumbnail image of him — don’t forget to include your name and email address.  For security reasons, I don’t encourage including home address or telephone numbers. If your cards are one-sided, you can use the blank side (if requested)  to hand-write personal contact information.  My cards are one-sided and very simple with Jerry’s  name, rank, branch of service, my name and URL for this site.

Even if a family member has five minutes for a face-to-face with an official at some point during the meeting, he or she will appreciate receiving a business card from you and hopefully that person will reciprocate with a card, as well. (If you had a noteworthy conversation, jot down something on the back of their card, as a memory jogger).

*MEETING REGISTRATION MUST BE POSTMARKED BY FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2015

**TO RECEIVE A SPECIAL RATE FROM HILTON CRYSTAL CITY HOTEL,

THE CUT OFF DATE IS MAY 22, 2015

CAPT ED GARR, USMC, (Dec.) — ED WILL BE MISSED!

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.