A historic meeting for the revitalization of the Medical Cadet Corps (MCC) program took place from April 30-May 2 in Levittown, Puerto Rico. The purpose of the meeting was to provide training for MCC officers who are currently involved in the program, and to initiate other leaders who are interested in reviving the MCC in their regions.
“The MCC program originally helped Adventist servicemen serve according to their conscience. MCC cadets are trained and equipped to provide spiritual comfort, and other services such as first aid, relief, and humanitarian during emergency situations,” says Mario Ceballos, Director, World Service Organization–General Conference (WSO-GC). “In today’s world, many countries no longer have a draft. Although we never know when world events could lead to a reinstatement of conscription, it is best to prepare our young adults. The MCC training also equips cadets, ages 17 and older, to serve in their local communities in times of disaster. Their assistance during these types of events fosters goodwill with local residents and provides help in time of need.”
During the recent training week, MCC officers attended presentations on MCC Operations and Organization, Senior Military Leadership Protocol and Ethics with Dr. Washington Johnson, Assistant Director, WSO-North American Division, and Rear Admiral Darold Bigger, U.S. Navy-Retired discussed the qualities of Executive Leadership and Flag Officer Etiquette. Elder Dionisio
Olivo, WSO-Atlantic Union Conference, shared lessons that have been learned and the challenges that the MCC program has faced and overcome. Elder Hiram Ruiz, WSO–IAD also shared about experiences of MCC groups in the Inter-American Division. Elder David Sebastian, WSO–Puerto
Rico Union Conference highlighted the work of MCC units which actively responded in Puerto
Rico following Hurricane Maria and the devastation to the island. Numerous media outlets provided positive coverage about the work of the MCC cadets. Closing ceremonies included a Flag Officers Grade Ceremony.
The Medical Cadet Corps, originally launched on January 8, 1934 on the Union College campus in Lincoln, Nebraska under the leadership of Everett Dick, a professor at Union and a World War I veteran. The training was the same that Army medics would receive–close order drill, Army organizational structure, physical training, military courtesy, camp hygiene, litter drill, and first aid.
The Army soon recognized the value of soldiers who had received this type of training and often placed them in positions of leadership and authority within their unit.
The vision of training young men for non-combatant service caught on and other Adventist colleges adopted the program.
At the 1939 Autumn Council held in Lincoln, Nebraska, military medical training was discussed, and attendees attended a demonstration drill by the cadets. As a result of these meetings, the General Conference voted to adopt the plan of military medical training. It was named the Seventh-day Adventist Medical Cadet Corps (SDAMCC).
In early 1950, training materials were updated and in June 1950, the General Conference endorsed the nationwide training and the program was renamed Medical Cadet Corps. With the outbreak of the Korean War more than 3,000 Adventist youth took training during the academic year 1950-1951.
What began as localized training in the United States grew to be a respected and accepted training method for Adventists to serve as noncombatants. MCC cadets trained and served in Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Korea, and China.
Many of its graduates served their nations in times of war and peace. They were able to bring aid and comfort as a part of their service. The legacy of the Medical Cadet Corps is a part of the fabric of the Adventist church that demonstrates our calling to serve both God and our fellow human beings with compassion, even if it might mean at the risk of our own life.