Veteran's Day Stories: Adventist Non-combatant Served as Secret Lab Rat


(system) #1

Today, November 11, the United States marks Veteran's Day to honor those who have served in the American Armed forces. Seventh-day Adventists have historically had a tenuous relationship with military service. Famously, Adventist conscientious objectors like Desmond Doss put Adventists on the map for their non-combatancy. Today, Adventists tend to be far less strident about non-combatancy. At Spectrum, we mark this American holiday by remembering an Adventist non-combatant who served as a test subject for the U.S. Army. -Ed

Serving as an Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector during the Korean War, then 21-year-old Harold Green volunteered for a secret human science experiment that exposed him and more than 2,000 soldiers to infectious diseases. Green was infected with Q fever, a bacterial infection that can affect the lungs, liver, heart and other body parts. While he did get a very high fever, he recovered completely with the help of antibiotics and has had no lasting effects of his exposure.

According to a story about Green in the Desert Sun, his service did not go the way he expected.

Because of his religion, he was expecting to serve as a medical corpsman. But after basic training, he was given the choice of going to Korea or Germany or being part of a top secret biological warfare and medical experiment program.

"The war was just going on and we knew that we were probably going to be drafted. So the church was trying to prepare all of us for army service," Green said. "We actually learned how to properly wear the uniform, march in formation and basic medical triage and bandaging. In basic training ... it gave us a leg up on everybody else," he said.

After being discharged from the service, he went on to work in hospital administration and to earn a PhD. Later, he established his own health care business and operated it for 20 years.

Now 82 and a resident of Indian Wells, California, Green is engaged with plans to marry his fiancé, Maudella Kammann, after Thanksgiving this month.

Read the full article at the Desert Sun: Veteran served as secret Army lab rat.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6409

(le vieux) #2

There was a similar program going on during the Vietnam war. I had a good friend who was in it. It was called the “White Coats.” I remember thinking at the time, that if I was drafted (and I came close), I would be inclined to go that route. I would not have done well in the military. However, the way it was presented to me was not in terms of chemical warfare, but in trying to find better cures for diseases, so as to help soldiers on the battlefield.


(Sirje) #3

My husband was part of that program. How ever it was presented, it was studying the effects, duration, and side effects of biological warfare. It resulted in many of precautions now taken against it. No doubt the results are finding their way onto the battle field even today.


(Andreas Bochmann) #4

May I add to the memory of conscientious objectors the German Adventist Günter Pietz who was beheaded at age 17 in 1943 for his refusal to join the military in Halle, Germany…
And there are many others who had to suffer.

Seeing the kind of callousness reported in the above article, I find it surprizing how acceptable military service has become in the Adventist church today. I would wish Adventist would be at the forefront of peace movements.