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 ‘Julie Kink Sprayberry’

DAVID’S STOCKING by JULIE KINK SPRAYBERRY

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 @ 12:12 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis
WO1 David Kink, US Army, 1-9th, Troop C. KIA August 3, 1969. He was 19. Cause of Death: UXO ground explosion brought down the LOH in which David was flying.

WO1 David Kink, US Army, 1-9th, Troop C. KIA August 3, 1969. He was 19. Cause of Death: UXO ground explosion brought down the LOH in which David was flying.

DAVID’S STOCKING

© Julie Kink

December 2005

I wasn’t looking forward to hanging David’s Christmas stocking this year. I’ve found that most of the things in life I didn’t want to do – because they remind me of people or things that aren’t here anymore – are things I really need to do.

So I lifted his stocking carefully out of its box like Mom used to do. Seeing a tiny hole in the heel, I turned it inside out to sew it. A few old, brittle scraps of wrapping paper fell out. What gift, I wondered, what year? What little thing had our parents placed there in the stocking to be found on Christmas morning – was it for David or for me?

An aunt knit woolen Christmas stockings for all three of the Kink children years before I was born. The names Paul, David, and Susan were knitted in bright red above a fuzzy white Santa face, and a pair of crossed candy canes. They were magnificent, large enough to hold an apple, an orange, a box of chocolate-covered cherries, a can of smoked oysters, and a Life Saver Sweet Storybook. I was born last, nine years after my sister, so I never got my own knitted stocking, but I loved the look and feel of the others. They were a special part of our Christmas.

The year that David was killed in Vietnam, Mom started filling his stocking for me. It made me feel special, sharing my big brother’s stocking like that. Even though I got everything that was inside. It was still David’s stocking, and it still needed to be hung up at Christmas.

Looking back, I think it was one of the important lessons of my eighth year: you don’t have to quit hanging a person’s Christmas stocking, just because they’re not there to see it. For so many years, I watched Mom brush away tears as she would lift it so carefully out of its box, and pack it away just as carefully after Christmas. We eventually sent Paul’s stocking off to him in Montana, and Susan’s stocking off to her in South Carolina. Mom went into the nursing home, but David’s stocking stayed right here with me. It has never missed a Christmas.

And now, Mom is gone. And now, I am lifting David’s stocking out of its box and wiping away a few tears, just like Mom used to do.

This year, I shed tears for people I don’t even know, the more than 2,000 families who will wonder if they should hang a Christmas stocking this year. The families of the young men and women who, like my own brother in 1969, went off to fight a war and never came back.

The families wondering if you ever stop thinking about them.

You don’t.

I wish to the core of my soul that there was something I could do or say that would let them know they aren’t alone. What I really wish, is that the war would end, and there wouldn’t have to be any more families like mine, left wondering.

What do you do with a person’s Christmas stocking after they’re gone?

You carefully take it out of its box, you hang it up, you fill it with treats or gifts. Or just memories . . . and then, you go on.

 A sensitive, beautifully-written Christmas story by Julie Kink Sprayberry, published 11 years ago in memory of the brother she barely new — David — who was killed in Vietnam when an UXO detonated and took down his LOH after he’d been in country one month.  Like so many who lost loved ones long ago in Vietnam, Julie’s story will resonate in its simplicity but very special message.  My thanks to Julie for allowing me to publish her story, as we celebrate another Christmas day without David, Jerry and so many others who died while serving our country. 

 

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.