Bringing them home; Lab's mission is to recover and identify the 90,000 American soldiers missing in action.Byline: Pamela H. Sacks
At first, Thomas D Thomas D. (born Thomas Dürr, December 30 1968 in Ditzingen close to Stuttgart, Germany) is a rapper in the German hip hop group Die Fantastischen Vier. He frequently works on solo projects. Life
After finishing Realschule he took on an apprenticeship as a barber. . Holland wasn't interested in a job identifying those who had gone missing in America's wars.
But the director of the military's Central Identification Laboratories in Hawaii kept calling. An archaeologist, Holland had published several articles in the Journal of Forensic Science The application of scientific knowledge and methodology to legal problems and criminal investigations.
Sometimes called simply forensics, forensic science encompasses many different fields of science, including anthropology, biology, chemistry, engineering, genetics, on determining the gender, race and stature of skeletons from fragments.
The year was 1991. Holland and his wife were content living in Missouri, where he was a curator at the University of Missouri's museum. Yet gradually he found himself influenced by an important historical event: the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor Pearl Harbor, land-locked harbor, on the southern coast of Oahu island, Hawaii, W of Honolulu; one of the largest and best natural harbors in the E Pacific Ocean. In the vicinity are many U.S. military installations, including the chief U.S. .
"Every time I turned on the TV, there was Hawaii again," Holland recalled. "In January 1992, I said, `OK, I'll do it for three years.'"
The job proved more to Holland's liking than he could have imagined.
Today, he is the scientific director of the facility in Hawaii, which is the largest forensic anthropology Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology (the study of the human skeleton) in a legal setting, most often in criminal cases where the victim's remains are more or less skeletonized. laboratory in the world. It is operated by the Department of Defense's Joint POW/MIA POW/MIA Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action Accounting Command, located at Hickham Air Force Base near Honolulu. Its mission is to identify the roughly 90,000 Americans who are listed as missing in action and presumed dead since the early 20th century, among them 78,000 from World War II, 8,100 from the Korean War Korean War, conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation. and 1,800 from the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. . About half are considered "unrecoverable" because they were lost at sea.
Advances in forensic science and DNA testing DNA testing
Analysis of DNA (the genetic component of cells) in order to determine changes in genes that may indicate a specific disorder.
Mentioned in: Acoustic Neuroma, Retinoblastoma, Von Willebrand Disease are making it possible to identify a soldier or sailor on scant physical evidence. But Holland, 50, said that even today, the most reliable method is through dental records.
"Already this year, the lab has identified 23 from World War II, 20 from Korea and 20 from Southeast Asia," Holland said with obvious pride. "We are identifying somebody about every two and a half days."
Not long ago, the laboratory put a name to a soldier from World War I. His remains had been discovered in France by a construction crew.
More than 400 people with a wide range of specialties - from archaeology to criminal investigation to DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
or deoxyribonucleic acid
One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. processing - are engaged in the work of the laboratory. Eighteen search and recovery teams travel around the world to retrieve remains, and any evidence that could make positive identifications possible. The teams have tramped through the jungles of the Amazon, where planes were lost en route to North Africa during World War II, and trekked along the icy peaks of the Himalayas. "We lost several hundred aircraft flying the hump from India to China," Holland remarked.
The teams are on humanitarian missions and are unarmed. Earlier in his career, Holland found himself in remote and sometimes dangerous spots. In the early 1990s, he was on teams that visited Cambodia.
"The Khmer Rouge were still very active, so the missions there were something of an adventure," he recalled. "We were on one recovery where the Khmer Rouge didn't want us there anymore. They rocketed our base camp." The team quickly withdrew.
In 1995, Holland and others from the lab were in the Iraqi desert investigating the crash site of Navy pilot Lt. Cmdr. Michael S. Speicher, who was lost in January of 1991 during the Gulf War at age 33. Controversy surrounded what had happened to Speicher. Some people were certain that he had survived and was being held hostage in Iraq by Saddam Hussein's henchmen.
"In the case of Speicher, the evidence showed the ejection seat had worked," Holland said. "He parachuted into the desert. What happened to him after that we don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. . It's western Iraq. The desert is a pretty empty place out there."
Back when he arrived at the University of Missouri for his freshman year, archaeology piqued Holland's interest. He was on a work-study program and took a job in the archaeology department's laboratory. A printmaker and painter, he majored in fine arts and then stayed on at the university to earn a master's degree and a doctorate in bio-archaeology.
In his current position, Holland reviews all the evidence for each case and writes the final report, detailing the justification for an identification. Before the evidence reaches him, it has been through a rigorous peer review by departments at the lab, each independent of the other.
Field work was fascinating, Holland said, but it allowed for involvement in only one part of the process. "Some cases take six months, a year or five years," he explained. "A lot of times you never know what happened to that case." Now he sees the pieces of the puzzle come together.
Holland still travels a good deal. While on long plane rides, he writes fiction based on forensics See computer forensics. . He has produced two books: "One Drop of Blood" is now in paperback, and "KIA KIA
A member of the armed services who is reported killed during a combat mission.
[k(illed) i(n) a(ction).] " will be released in January by Simon and Schuster.
But Holland has no plans to give up his day job.
"In terms of forensics, this is the ideal job," Holland said. "Your average forensic job is dealing with murder, abuse, rape. It's nice to assist and bring bad guys to justice. You often think, `Just how slimy are individuals?'
"What we do is so different," he continued. "It has all the intellectual satisfaction of solving these complex puzzles. Our country asked them to do something onerous and they did it. In many cases they died horrible deaths, but they did something noble. You go home and you don't feel ashamed to be a member of the human race."
`Let the Dead Bury the Dead Bury the Dead
six dead soldiers cause a rebellion when they refuse to be buried. [Am. Drama: Haydn & Fuller, 768]
See : Death : Forensic Science Behind the Recovery and Identification of U.S. War Casualties'
What: A talk by Thomas D. Holland
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Cafe at the Worcester Art Museum The Worcester Art Museum, located at 55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, is one of the largest art museums in Central Massachusetts. History and Collection Overview , 18 Salisbury St., Worcester. Hosted by the Worcester Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is a North American nonprofit organization devoted to the promotion of public interest in archaeology, and the preservation of archaeological sites. It is based at Boston University.
How much: Free and open to the public
CUTLINE: (PHOTO 1) Forensic anthropologist Thomas D. Holland in the Iraqi desert investigating the crash site of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael S. Speicher, who was shot down in 1991. (PHOTO 2) The Joint POW Accounting Command (JPAC JPAC Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (US DOD)
JPAC Joint Personnel Administration Centre (UK MoD) ) Central Identification Laboratories at Hickham Air Force Base, Hawaii. (PHOTO 3) Thomas D. Holland in Cambodia with a search and recovery team in the early 1990s. Holland will speak at 7:30 tonight at the Worcester Art Museum.