News | Sept. 15, 2017

Anthropologist recounts ways to identify killed, missing warfighters during POW/MIA Recognition Day observance

By Jason Kaneshiro DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

A forensic anthropologist who works to provide the fullest possible accounting of warfighters captured, killed or missing in action spoke about her work to Naval Support Activity Philadelphia employees Sept. 14 during the POW/MIA Recognition Day observance.

Carrie Ann Brown explained that the methods she uses at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Laboratory to identify remains of fallen warfighters include referencing medical and dental records, and examining the uniforms and equipment found with them.

Another important, and emotionally touching, method they use to identify remains is examining personal items the individual was wearing or carrying with them at the time of their loss, Brown said.

“I can always recall with great detail and clarity when individuals were found who had written their own names on the back of their watch,” Brown said.

There was an instance when the remains of a Marine who was killed during World War I in France was found with a marksmanship badge with his name and the date he earned the badge inscribed on the back.

“The date inscribed was exactly one year before he died,” Brown said. “Those are the things that really sit with you, personally.”

The talk provided insight into the way recovered remains are identified and showed the lengths that the agency goes to fulfill the promise to give a full accounting of all missing and fallen warfighters, said Patricia Cappo-Dean, a clerk with the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Industrial Hardware supply chain.

“I think what she does is absolutely amazing,” Cappo-Dean said. “It brings closure to families. That’s what makes me feel better.”

The Philadelphia Compound Veterans Committee organized the event.