Davenport Campus

Retired brigadier general salutes chiropractic

Retired Brigadier General Becky Halstead speaks about the importance of chiropractic care in her life and her hope that it one day be available to all U.S. armed services members.
Gen. Becky Halstead at podium

U.S. Army Brigadier General (retired) Becky Halstead spoke to an enthusiastic crowd March 12 in Lyceum Auditorium in Vickie Anne Palmer Hall on the Davenport Campus. Though National Boards exams were a mere week away, many students made it a priority to attend the event.

Brig. Gen. Halstead had a 27-year career in the Army, was the first female graduate of West Point promoted to Brigadier General, and the first female in U.S. history to command in combat at the strategic level as part of the Combat Theater of Iraq. Now she heads the leadership consulting company Steadfast Leadership, and is a staunch chiropractic advocate and spokesperson for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.

“I am a patient of chiropractic care,” she said. “A satisfied patient. I know first-hand how chiropractic can impact our military.”

Though she suffered chronic fibromyalgia and had been placed on 15 different medications over a four-year period, Brig. Gen. Halstead decided to go “cold turkey” when she was assigned to go to Iraq. She felt she owed the 20,000 soldiers under her command to have a clear head, untainted by the effects of her medication. Though she was in near constant pain, she refused to let it bring her down. Prior to leaving for Iraq she had begun chiropractic care, and when asked what she missed most about being away from home, along with family and friends, she said “my chiropractor.”

After dealing with chronic pain for years, chiropractic changed the Brigadier General’s life. “And I believe it can make the difference to our military,” she said. “I also believe chiropractic can help our soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. When I leave my chiropractor’s office, I feel better, physically and mentally. I really think chiropractic can help people with PTSD.”

Following her presentation at Vickie Anne Palmer Hall, Becky Halstead had lunch with veterans and College administrators. Here, Colonel Craig Cotter, commander of the joint manufacturing technology center at the Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill., presents her with a special commemorative coin.
Col. Craig Cotter looks at coin with Gen. Becky Halstead

While walking down the halls of Palmer’s Davenport Campus, the Brigadier General noted that it reminded her of West Point.

“At West Point, I walked the same halls as the greats—Patton, McArthur and so many others,” she said. “You here are experiencing the same thing in chiropractic history. This is The Fountainhead.”

It is with tenacity, she said, that students at Palmer can advance the dream, vision and legacy of chiropractic. As with the military, chiropractic is about life-long learning and holding yourself accountable.

Brig. Gen. Halstead’s overall message was about leadership and service. She encouraged the crowd—especially the students—to professionally and personally be dedicated, serve selflessly and lead by example.

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