Gregory D. Gadson

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Gregory D. Gadson
Gregory D. Gadson 0259.JPG
Col. Gadson at a Mount Vernon town meeting in 2012.
Born (1966-02-19) February 19, 1966 (age 49)
Chesapeake, Virginia
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1989–2014
Rank Colonel
Unit 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, U.S. Army
Commands held US Army Garrison Fort Belvoir
2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery
4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
Battles/wars Operation Desert Storm
Kosovo War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (3 awards)
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal

Gregory D. Gadson (born February 19, 1966) is a retired colonel in the United States Army and the former Garrison Commander of the U.S. Army Fort Belvoir .[1] He is also a bilateral above-the-knee amputee, occasional actor, and motivational speaker. He served in the U.S. Army for more than 20 years as a field artillery officer and served on active duty for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Forge, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Education and military career[edit]

Gadson attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating in 1989. He also holds a master's degree in information systems from Webster University and a master's degree in policy management from Georgetown University.[2] He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Advanced Field Artillery Officers Course and in 2010, he became an Army War College Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.



  • Platoon Fire Direction Officer, Firing Battery Platoon Leader (Desert Shield/Desert Storm)
  • Chief of Operations, Multinational Division North, Bosnia-Herzegovina, (Stabilization Force XI), 25th Infantry Division (Light)
  • 25th Infantry Division Artillery, Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom V)


On the night of May 7, 2007, while returning from a memorial service for two soldiers from his brigade, he lost both his legs and severely injured his right arm to a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He became one of the first military personnel to use a next-generation powered prosthetic knee with technology to make it possible for amputees to walk with confidence and with a more natural gait.[4]

Military awards[edit]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Distinguished Service 2 awards Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal 3 awards Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal 4 awards Army Commendation Medal 4 awards Army Achievement Medal 4 awards National Defense Service Medal 2 awards
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal 3 awards Southwest Asia Service Medal 3 awards Afghanistan Campaign Medal Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal NATO Medal for Service in ex-Yugoslavia Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Gadson is also authorized to wear the Combat Action Badge and the Master Parachutist Badge.[citation needed]


Gadson played football at West Point between 1985 and 1988, wearing the No. 98 jersey and serving as co-captain. In 2007, he was present when the New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins at FedExField at the invitation of West Point classmate Mike Sullivan, who was then on the coaching staff of the New York Giants. This win was the beginning of a 10-game road winning streak and came after Gadson had made an inspirational speech to the team. The streak culminated in the Giants winning Super Bowl XLII.[5] and in recognition for his contribution, Gadson received a specially minted Super Bowl ring.[6]

Acting career[edit]

Gadson made his acting debut in Battleship, a 2012 American science fiction naval war film, as Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales, playing a war veteran who regains his appetite for the fight when Oahu is threatened by an alien attack. Director Peter Berg, having seen news articles about Gadson, decided to cast him as an Army officer trying to recover from the loss of his legs.[7]


Gadson has been an avid photographer for many years. His work has been most recently been featured prominently in Coming Home: Journey, Community, Dialog, a public art project based in New York City that seeks to encourage communication between civilians and those who have served in the US military.[8]


  1. ^ Welcome to Fort Belvoir Home Page!
  2. ^ Wallace, Jennifer. "LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM: USMC commandant among speakers - The Citadel - Charleston, SC". 
  3. ^ "Fort Belvoir Command Group". Fort Belvoir Public Affairs Office. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  4. ^ "Lt Col Greg Gadson gets Power Knee". May 1, 2009. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Lieutenant colonel Greg Gadson is Giants' inspirational co-captain". NY Daily News. New York. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ Rutherford, John (May 1, 2008). "‘Super Bowl ring minted for a true giant’". NBC News. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2015. 
  7. ^ Rollings, Grant (April 5, 2012). "Rihanna movie’s bionic hero". The Sun. London. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Coming Home Journey Community and Dialog". Coming Home Journey Community and Dialog. 

External links[edit]