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 ‘Sgt Maj Anthony Spadaro’

USMC Battle Color Ceremony at MCAS Miramar, 3rd MAW

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @ 09:03 AM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

The Silent Drill Platoon is a 24-man rifle unit that performs a unique precision drill exhibition. These Marines are individually selected from the Schools of Infantry to serve a two-year ceremonial tour at Marine Barracks Washington.


Attendees were honored by the presence of Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipents Col Bob Modrzejewski and Col. Jay Vargas, both of whom earned our nation’s highest military award for valor during the Vietnam War.


Maj Gen Drew & Kelly O’Donnell hosted the Battle Color Ceremony on March 8th at MCAS Miramar, home of the 3rd MAW. Maj Gen O’Donnell is Commanding General of the 3rd MAW.

 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar), located in San Diego, CA, is home to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW) and likely ranks as one of the best helicopter and fixed wing bases within the Corps, but then I’m a little prejudice!  I soon learned that MCAS Miramar is also an ideal venue for visiting groups like the Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment.

Permanently based at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., the Battle Color Detachment embarks on a tour of the United States after finishing its annual rigorous training schedule at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, during the winter months.  The detachment kicks off its tour on the West Coast. 

The ceremonial unit includes the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, also referred to as “The Commandant’s Own,”  the Silent Drill Platoon, and the Official Color Guard of the Marines.  This highly skilled group travels worldwide to demonstrate the discipline, professionalism and Esprit de Corps of the Marine Corps, and their performances always exceed expectations. 

My husband, Ron, and I enjoyed the great viewing opportunity, since the venue offered up-close seating for guests.  Ron sat next to Sgt Major Anthony (Tony) Spadaro, who serves as Sergeant Major of the 3rd MAW.  Sgt Major Spadaro and Maj Gen O’Donnell work closely together, so it was not surprising that Tony would be a bright, energetic guy with a sense of humor. 

Maj Gen O’Donnell is joined on the Parade Ground by Sgt Maj Anthony Spadaro with a fan and good looking future Marine. Sgt Maj Spadaro is the Sgt Maj for the 3rd MAW.

In keeping with Marine Corps tradition, Maj Gen O’Donnell conducted the Parade Review, flanked by two Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War — retirees Col. Bob Modrzejewski and Col. Jay R. Vargas.  Col Modrzejewski received his Medal of Honor for valor during Operation Hastings, 15-18 July 1966, while Col Jay Vargas received his MOH for valor during the Battle of Dai Do, 30 April – 2 May 1968.  To read more about these heroes and others, visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Society at www.cmohs.org/.

Elaine Zimmer Davis and a member of the USMC Drum & Bugle Corps, also known as the “Commandant’s Own,” which is comprised of 79 Marine musicians, dressed in ceremonial scarlet and white uniforms. The Commandant’s Own is recognized worldwide as one of the premier musical units in our armed forces.

 When the event ended, the performers mingled with the visitors on the parade grounds and during a reception at the Officer’s Club — it was obvious that they all enjoyed MCAS Miramar’s hospitality.   This gave me an opportunity to thank several members of the Drum & Bugle Corps for performing at my first husband’s 40th Memorial Service at Arlington National Cemetery on August 20, 2009, bringing such dignity to the occasion.




Wednesday, November 9, 2011 @ 07:11 PM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis


Major General Drew & Kelly O’Donnell, Jr., and Capt. Ron Davis (Veteran), at the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing’s, 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Maj Gen O’Donnell is CG of 3rd MAW, MCAS Miramar in San Diego.

Once a Marine, always a Marine is a cherished axiom that the Corps has embraced since its inception on 10 November 1775. Few other occasions reaffirm this unique brotherhood/sisterhood better than the Marine Corps Birthday, which is officially recognized every year on November 10th around the world.

Today, active duty and veteran Marines are celebrating in various locations, some on the battlefields of Afghanistan, others keeping the peace in Iraq, while still others are searching past wartime locations, looking for MIAs, like my first husband – Capt Jerry A Zimmer, USMC, and fellow warriors who never came home from the Vietnam War, along with thousands more, still unaccounted-for from WWII, Korea and the Cold War.

The largest celebration takes place in Washington, D.C., with the current Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, presiding, but there are other locations around the United States known for their big Marine Corps Birthday Balls, too. San Diego, California, is undoubtedly at the top of the list, if for no other reason than the Marine Corps rules in San Diego County! Within about a 20-mile radius, the county is home to three prominent bases – the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego; Marine Corp Air Station Miramar and Marine Corps Base Pendleton.

Although I was out of town, my husband, Ron, attended the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s, 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball, as guest of Maj Gen Drew O’Donnell and wife Kelly. Maj Gen O’Donnell is Commanding General of the 3rd MAW at MCAS Miramar. Ron also had the pleasure of sitting next to the Guest of Honor, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Joseph F. Dunford.

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford, and Capt. Ron Davis, Vietnam veteran,  at 3rd MAW, 2011 Marine Corps Birthday Ball.

Other special guests at the table included Group Captain Nick Laird, British RoyalAir Force and wife Donna Louise, both of whom had flown in from London for the event.  Laird and O’Donnell became close friends when the Marine Corps’ 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) and the United Kingdom’s Joint Aviation Group integrated on June 1, 2010, under O’Donnell’s command with Laird as second in command, at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.

(Front): Group Capt. Nick & Donna Louise Laird; (L-R): 3rd MAW Sgt Maj Anthony & Kathryn Spadaro; MajGen Drew & Kelly O’Donnell, Jr; Asst.Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford; Ron Davis; Col Robert & Libby Leary.

“I’ve attended a lot of Marine Corps Birthday celebrations over the years, but this one was the best,” said Ron, who was among the 1,000-plus Marines and guests at the new Hilton Hotel in downtown San Diego. “Drew was truly impressive, and General Dunford captivated the audience with a motivational presentation. It felt good to be a Marine and part of this wonderful event, even if I had a few hundred more gray hairs than most!”

My Marine Corps Birthday memories are a little more limited than Ron’s, but I do remember when I was a young Marine wife, attending my first Marine Corps Birthday Ball and a 40ish senior officer, who I thought was an old guy at the time, said: “Your husband probably will forget a few important dates over the years, but he won’t forget the Marine Corps Birthday.” At the time, I wasn’t convinced, but in the decades since, I’ve decided that the officer was not all that old and definitely spot-on about the unforgettable Marine Corps Birthday.

Happy 236th Marine Corps Birthday to all Marines around the world.