Tribute To Lt. Col. 
Daniel Holland, DVM

From Maj. John Holland, USA, Retired

My wonderful younger brother, Daniel, died Thursday 18 May 2006, in Iraq after the vehicle he was riding in was hit by an IED. 

Dan had been in-theater just three weeks, and was assigned as the G9 shop of the 4th ID as the Chief of the Public Health and Functional Specialty Teams for Civil Affairs.  He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, commissioned out of ROTC at Oklahoma State University.  Although our father was an artilleryman during his entire career, he had retired on a small farm in Oklahoma by the time Dan was growing up, so Dan pursued what he knew best from his school days in rural Oklahoma.  He was proud to have the opportunity to combine his love of animals and medicine while serving our country as an Army vet. 

Even though he was my youngest brother, and the youngest of the ten kids in our family, Dan was the sibling I always wanted to be more like: he was the best brother you could have: a magnificent officer who cared deeply for his soldiers, a loving father of two young kids, a great husband and son, a devoted Catholic gentleman, a great doctor who had both brains and common sense, and just the most fun-loving person you’d ever meet.  His only shortcomings were his inability to sing well, and that he lost most of his hair before the rest of us…and we gave him grief about both items.  We didn’t get to see each other or our other brothers and sisters much after leaving home for college, so my happiest memories of any place I’ve ever lived as an adult are of the year our PCS tours overlapped at Fort Sill when I was in TSM-Cannon and he was the post veterinarian.  For that short period of time, it was a simple but great luxury to leave Knox Hall and simply walk by Snow Hall to join Dan for lunch in his small vet clinic by the post cemetery.  I wish I had done it more often.

 As I said, Dan had recently deployed to Iraq, having served previously at Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, Fort Carson, and in Germany (Giebelstadt), with previous deployments to Bosnia, Honduras and Haiti.  We had only corresponded a few times since he arrived in Iraq on 26 April, and I hope you get some sense of his great character in this excerpt from a prophetic message he wrote to all of us just before Mother’s Day:

 “This war is mostly about CA [Civil Affairs] now, but the IEDs keep it very real, all the time.  It is very common to hear small arms fire and for mortars or rockets to land within our compounds.  Fortunately the random fire doesn't cause much damage and rarely casualties.  It's the IEDs that cause the loss of life and limb.  We work every day and have very little free time (at most 1-2 hrs in the evening before hitting the rack).  Email is much more problematic here for lots of reasons, the LAN is very slow and computer time is much more limited. (as annoying as it is, I can't help but reflect how much better off we are than the generations who went before us that had to rely solely on snail mail.)  I work in the HQ most of the time but go out on missions too.  When I go out it is to evaluate Iraqi sites that pertain to public health, vet med, animals, or agriculture.  The idea is to encourage civil participation, collect civil information, and to positively impact the average Iraqi citizen by helping them with their subsistence style of ag/animal husbandry.  Frankly, we can make more progress helping here than working on huge national problems that take forever to impact and don't resonate with the average Haji.  Counterinsurgency is a tough business but we have a lot of good folks working diligently at it.  I don't watch much TV (a few minutes in the DFAC as I eat maybe).  I read the Stars 'n' Stripes daily paper, check Yahoo to see if the Spurs won, and visit a bit with my teammates.  I listen to music off my laptop.  Other than a little contemporary C&W, it is all "oldies".  Lots of music from when we were growing up: folk music, Simon & Garfunkel, PP&M, Merle Haggard.  It's amazing how many I associate with fairly specific memories.  I'm not very artsy but since this is my fourth deployment I can honestly say that music can easily connect a person to emotion, make you nostalgic, and make you miss your comfort zone.” 

You’d remember it if you ever met Daniel.  In addition to his warm and outgoing personality, he always made people laugh when it came time to say goodbye because he’d smile and say, with just a touch of Okie twang, “Glad you got to see me!”  We will miss him terribly.  

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Below Photo:  LTC Holland’s promotion ceremony in Sept. 2001.  His wife Sheryl Holland, is on the left, and his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Holland, is on the right


In sharing his tribute John Holland told us that one of Daniel’s great joys was tending to the Military Working Dogs. 


Photo Above: Military Flag Ceremony. The funeral was also attended by several Army Working Dog Teams. 


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He was a member of our K-9 family. 




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