Forensic expert who helps bring heroes home visits...

Forensic expert who helps bring heroes home visits MTSU Oct. 29

The scientist who helps identify and bring home American heroes from military conflicts worldwide will speak at MTSU Tuesday, Oct. 29, in a free public event in the university’s Student Union.

Dr. Tom Holland

Dr. Tom Holland, an internationally renowned forensic expert who has led recovery missions to numerous countries, including North and South Korea, China, Iraq, Kuwait and Cambodia, is the fall 2013 speaker for MTSU’s William M. Bass Legends in Forensic Science Lectureship.

He’ll speak on “The Challenge of Returning America’s War Dead as Viewed through Time, Technology and Government” beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the MTSU Student Union’s second-floor ballroom.

Organizers are encouraging visitors to park in the South Rutherford Boulevard lot and ride a Raider Xpress shuttle into campus to the Student Union building. A campus map is available online at

MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education, or FIRE, is sponsoring Holland’s free public lecture. The Bass Lecture Series, named for renowned University of Tennessee forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass, brings respected forensic-science experts to campus each fall and spring.

Click on the logo above for a full-size informational poster on Dr. Holland’s lecture.

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.

Holland was an archaeologist and museum curator before beginning his federal service as a forensic anthropologist with the Central Identification Laboratory in 1992. His duties include approving the identifications of all U.S. military personnel from past conflicts, including more than 1,000 soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and the Vietnam War, including the Vietnam Unknown Soldier from Arlington National Cemetery.

Under his leadership, the Central Identification Laboratory became the first — and to date, only — skeletal forensic laboratory in the world to be accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board.

Holland, who is the author of the Dr. Kel McKelvey crime-fiction series “One Drop of Blood” and “K.I.A.,” is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is one of fewer than 100 Diplomates of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. He also is a member of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors and serves as a forensic consultant to the New York State Police and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Switzerland.

FIRE’s co-sponsors for Holland’s lecture are the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund; the Office of the University Provost; the University Honors College and University College; the MTSU Colleges of Liberal Arts, Basic and Applied Sciences, and Behavioral and Health Sciences; the Departments of Biology, Political Science, and Sociology and Anthropology; and the Middle Tennessee Forensic Science.

For more information on the Oct. 29 lecture, please contact the FIRE offices at 615-494-7713 or visit