10:32am

Tue October 29, 2013
Science

Scientist Works to Identify the Remains of American MIAs

 

Dr.Tom Holland is deputy to the commander of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the scientific director of the command’s Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii, the largest skeletal identification laboratory in the world

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A scientist who finds and identifies the remains of American service men and women missing in action is in the mid-state to talk about his work.

Dr. Tom Holland serves with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command based in Hawaii.

Holland will speak this evening at Middle Tennessee State University about the challenge of finding and identifying America’s war dead. He says the work is both professionally and emotionally rewarding.

“You can bind up these wounds that haven’t healed for some of these families for 50, 60, 70 years. You can never bring their loved one home, but what you can do is at least bind up the wound and it’s tremendously rewarding.”

Holland recently helped identify the remains of a Vietnam era MIA. His team was able to make the identification by extracting the man’s DNA from the glue he licked to seal letters he’d written home to his wife prior to being killed in action.

Holland will speak this evening at an annual forensic conference sponsored by MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education. The presentation is free and open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the new Student Union building.