Dr. Reggie Clifton opened a chiropractic clinic at the U.S.
Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan, in July 2010. He is
one of three chiropractors who, in 2010, became the first
D.C.s ever to practice at overseas U.S. military bases.
Reggie Clifton, D.C., Davenport ’87, got
his first taste of caring for active duty military
personnel in 2003 when he started
a five-year stint at Offutt Air Force base
near Omaha, Neb. He was one of two
contracted chiropractors at Offutt, which
was part of a Department of Defense
(DoD) pilot program that offered on-base
chiropractic care to military personnel.
Other Davenport Campus graduates who
have worked at Offutt include Drs. Greg
Lillie, ’88, Jason Christenson, ’97, and
Derrick Eichstadt, ’97.
“I worked primarily for the Air Force
there,” Dr. Clifton recalls, “from pilots
to flight surgeons, kids with one stripe
to two-star generals, and everyone in
between.” He adds that they are the
“most appreciative people” he’s ever met.
“Taking care of a clinician who had been
on their feet all day, Kinesio taping a pilot
before a long flight and addressing acute
low back pain caused by lifting a tire,
were all in a day’s work,” he says.
Dr. Clifton credits a number of Palmer
graduates for the increasing availability of
chiropractic care in the military, including
colleague Dr. Lillie as well as Bill Morgan,
D.C., West ’85.
In 2008, Dr. Clifton left Offutt to open
a private practice in West Des Moines,
Iowa. In time, he realized he still felt
drawn back to the military program.
Then in 2009, he learned that the federal
government was about to add more D.C.
positions at a group of military bases and
Veterans Health Administration facilities.
One of those positions was at the Naval
Hospital in Okinawa, Japan.
“When the Okinawa position was first
posted, I didn’t really give much thought
to applying for it,” he says. “To this day I
probably wouldn’t have pursued it if not
for my wife’s encouragement.”
After applying and being selected, Dr.
Clifton received his orders and proceeded
to open a clinic at Camp Foster in July
2010. In accepting this position, he joined
two other chiropractors who, in 2010,
became the first chiropractors ever to
provide chiropractic care at an overseas
U.S. military base. The two other chiropractors
now practice in Germany.
At Camp Foster, Dr. Clifton’s patients
include active duty men and women of all
branches of service. His clinic operates
under the physical therapy/occupational
therapy clinic command. While patients
are initially referred to the base’s chiropractic
facilities by primary practitioners,
all physicians within the hospital are able
to freely refer their patients to other
“I have the full support of my fellow
healthcare workers using the referral
process,” says Dr. Clifton, who can recommend
his patients undergo further testing,
such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and labs.
He also can refer patients to other
specialists, such as orthopedic physicians,
neurologists and physical therapists.
“This is what attracted me to the DoD,”
says Dr. Clifton. “We all know why we
are here, and that is to keep the men and
women of our armed forces battle ready.
It’s no different than private practice,
except these patients lay their lives on
the line everyday for the rest of us.”
“Just last week in the Sports Medicine
and Rehabilitation Team Clinic, a Master
Chief of 20-plus years in the service
noted in front of a dozen other younger
active duty personnel, ‘You don’t know
how lucky you are to have chiropractic
available.’ He added that when he was
younger, they didn’t have the things that
are offered today to help them do their
job. That, my friend, is a testimony.”