Volume 46, Issue 4 (July 2001)
Ellis Kerley's Service to the Military
The purpose of this paper is to present the contributions Ellis Kerley has made to the United States Department of Defense in the area of forensic anthropology. His service began at the end of the Korean War in the identification laboratory established in Kokura, Japan, under the direction of T.D. Stewart. Ellis developed his research on the quantification of cortical bone microstructure as a means of age estimation while at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. In December 1985, Ellis was asked by the Army to form a commission to evaluate the Central Identification Laboratory, HI (CILHI). This lab is tasked with the mission of search and recovery and identification of American personnel killed or listed as missing from past military conflicts. Ellis's team reviewed the identification process and documentation, the qualifications of lab personnel, the adequacy of facilities and equipment, and some questionable cases. Their written report was supplemented with testimony in front of congressional committees. Ellis served as scientific director of CILHI from 1987 until 1991. In addition to overseeing the daily case work, he led several missions to Vietnam to examine human remains and served as spokesman for the lab. His input helped the lab gain needed scientific credibility. Despite the frustrations of trying to identify human remains within the Army's casualty and memorial affairs system, Ellis always maintained the utmost dignity, compassion, and respect for the victims and their families.