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.