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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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NOTE:  BLOG POSTS ARE NOT UPDATED, SO INFORMATION MAY HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME.

Posts Tagged ‘Maj Gen Stephen Tom’

FIELD OF DREAMS: A CAMBODIAN EXODUS

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 @ 06:09 AM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

The Chau Clan celebrates Seang’s wedding — the youngest and last to marry.  Cheav, Lan, Seang, Kuy, Kang

 The Chairman of the National League of POW/MIA Families, Ann Mills Griffiths, known for not mincing words,  is very complimentary of our relationship with the Cambodian Government , as are officials within the accounting community of the U.S. Government.  The Cambodians have become a strong partner in efforts to recover the last of our MIAs in their country  – 54 still unaccounted-for – in large part due to a new generation of leadership, trying to recover from a severely troubled past to enable the Cambodian people to enjoy a  new age of prosperity.   If the following blog is any indication of Cambodian  strength, courage and kindness, I am certain they will achieve that goal.

 During much of the 1960s, my life revolved around the Vietnam War, since I was married at that time to my first husband, Capt Jerry Zimmer, who became a Marine Corps jet pilot and subsequently lost his life at the tail end of the decade.  Other than spending years watching news clips, hoping that Jerry might have been captured and that I would recognize him on TV – even though I knew he was dead, I basically left the war behind and did not want to confront issues like what was happening in Laos and Cambodia to our troops and to the innocent civilian population that gets caught up in every war.

Yet, it was hard to miss the outrage over Cambodia’s Killing Fields in the 1970s and the aftermath.  In the early 1980s I learned what the will to survive was all about from the Chaus – an amazing Cambodian family who escaped the country they loved and feared – the latter drove them to flee, wading through swamps with leeches covering their bodies.  The parents, Judy and Leang, guided their five children, the oldest only 12 and the youngest an infant — not knowing if life would be better on the outside, but certainly nothing could be worse than inside Cambodia at that time.  It took the Chau family two attempts to escape, and on the second try they left Cambodia behind and ultimately made it to the United States, where they were sponsored by a religious organization. Read more

VIETNAM MIA: USPACOM & JPAC — A STRONG PARTNERSHIP!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 @ 01:08 AM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

  

August 29th — A Special Day

Forty-three years ago today — August 29th — my first husband, Capt Jerry Zimmer, USMC, was killed in Vietnam and eventually classified as MIA.  The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), headquartered at Hickam AFB in Honolulu, continues to search for  his remains, along with those of his Radar Intercept Officer, 1st Lt. Al Graf. We don’t know if Jerry’s and Al’s remains will be found, but it won’t be for lack of trying on JPACs part. Jerry was everything to many of us, so we continue to hope, as does Al’s family.

JPAC Is Growing

For those of you who are just learning about JPAC, this organization is commanded by a group of active duty military, along with two retired military officers and a noted scientist in the civil service.  The military and civil service leadership gives the organization great continuity, and it works well.  JPAC and its predecessors have been conducting this enormous humanitarian mission for three decades.  The model extends to JPACs detachments in Southeast Asia and is expected to do likewise in other areas, where JPAC has ramped up recovery efforts.  Currently JPAC is comprised of approximately 400 people, and that number is expected to grow.  Above all, this is the  group that hikes in 100-degree heat through the jungles of Vietnam and other less-than-ideal places around the world, searching for our MIAs — I have a huge amount of respect for the work they do!   Read more