During the Cold War, more than 2,300 non-combatant conscientious objectors from the Seventh-day Adventist church volunteered to serve their country by participating in U. S. Army medical experiments focused on developing defensive medical countermeasures against the Soviet Union’s bio-warfare capabilities. These volunteers were exposed to experimental vaccines and infectious pathogens.
Operation Whitecoat tells the story of these patriots–their commitment to both their religious principles and desire to serve in America’s defense, their courage to participate in these tests, and their contributions that went far beyond Army biodefense.
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These images form the start of an archive of photographs, documents, and video clips about Operation Whitecoat that continues to grow.
Attention Whitecoats: In 2005, Dr. Phillip R. Pittman published a study (based on a self-administered questionnaire that inquired about health status) on 522 former Whitecoats: "An Assessment of Health Status among Medical Research Volunteers Who Served in the Project Whitecoat Program at Fort Detrick, Maryland”. This report is in the documents section of the Gallery.
If you would like to participate in any future studies, please contact Dr. Pittman directly at: Dr. Phillip R. Pittman Chief, Department of Clinical Research U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1425 Porter Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5011