Skip to content

United States Air Force Veteran on His Next Mission to Change Lives

Palmer Florida student Lafe HernandezPalmer Florida student Lafe Hernandez is following a new dream after serving 20 years in the United States Air Force.

On his next tour, he’ll be changing lives as a Doctor of Chiropractic.

While in the Air Force, Lafe held jobs in communications, then as a medic and finally as an Independent-Duty Medical Technician where he received a crash course in medical care to learn how to treat military members and prescribe medication.

“I started to notice that some of my patients who saw a chiropractor had better outcomes than those who didn’t, and by the time I retired from the Air Force I was tired of the allopathic medicine route. Plus, my dad is a chiropractor. I saw how many people he helped and knew that’s what I wanted to do next,” Lafe says.

“When I found out that Palmer is part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, it was a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that I could afford to pursue this dream and take care of my family with little to no debt. It helps me know that I can get through this.”

Palmer College of Chiropractic participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program at the highest possible level. Palmer holds an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to jointly pay the portion of an eligible veteran’s net tuition and fees that exceed the maximum amount otherwise provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.

Lafe, originally from California, has lived all over the world with deployments and assignments in Qatar, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Portugal. Most recently he was based at Maxwell Airforce Base in Alabama.

“My wife and I have six kids and after moving many times for my job, the family loves the area. My kids have gotten into surfing and the beaches are great. I’d be a bad dad if I moved them away now!”

As a member of the Clinical Nutrition Club and the Judeo-Christian Student Association Lafe is making the most of his time on campus.

“It’s hard to pick a favorite part of my time here, but I really enjoy the positive environment. Everyone from the students to the professors, plus it’s a top-notch education. It’s been harder than I anticipated and more fun than I imagined.”

“Having been in the medical field, I think it gives me a different perspective and baseline, and the education I’m receiving at Palmer is helping me grow as a person. Being in my 40s and out of academia for many years, shifting to the role of a full-time student has been my biggest adjustment. The advice I’d give to anyone is the same approach I took when I was in the Air Force – if you’re passionate about it, do it. If you’re not sure, explore it. Do a campus visit, talk to chiropractors, and be ready for a pretty serious challenge.”

Palmer College of Chiropractic is the first and largest chiropractic college. Palmer proudly supports our country’s military and veterans through the Yellow Ribbon Program and Military Care program. Learn more about these benefits at

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at