The next garrison commander of Fort Belvoir, Va., attended the Pre-Command Course Feb. 27 to March 2 at the Command and General Staff College’s School for Command Preparation. One thing that immediately sets him apart from his peers is that he is a double amputee.
Col. Greg Gadson, currently director of the U.S. Army Warrior Program, lost both legs May 7, 2007, when an improvised explosive device blew up near his humvee, nearly taking his life. Both his legs were amputated above the knee.
Gadson isn’t sure what to call his role with his favorite team, the New York Giants, but the team has thought it important enough to present him with two rings from their 2008 and 2012 Super Bowl wins. Gadson received national media attention for his role inspiring the team in 2008. He also spoke to team members in the locker room the day before their 2012 Super Bowl win. Gadson went to the U.S. Military Academy with the Giants’ quarterback coach Mike Sullivan in 1985-1988.
Gadson attended what is now the Intermediate Level Education program at the Command and General Staff College in 2000-2001. He also earned a master’s from Webster University while at CGSC. He earned a second master’s in policy management from Georgetown University and was a War College Fellow at the Institute of World Politics.
Gadson said he’s met the challenges of serving the Army as a wounded warrior with the same Comprehensive Soldier Fitness values that many non-wounded Soldiers are trying to learn as well. For him, it’s still a fight to balance physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual health.
His new prosthetic legs, he said, have helped the physical aspect. He sometimes still uses a wheelchair.
“I haven’t figured out my physical fitness battle rhythm since I got wounded,” he said. “Part of it is schedule and part of it’s adjusting to the differences in my body.”
Gadson is learning to assess himself as leader partly through the Pre-Command Course at SCP. He spent the week learning with other officers.
“It’s a very good course, well thought-out and organized,” he said. “As a leader, it’s really about continuing to develop, and they give you that opportunity in ways to assess yourself before you become more senior.”
Gadson said he’s looking forward to his next challenge as a garrison commander and hopes to leave Fort Belvoir a better place when he has completed his command.
“I was pretty surprised when I came out on the command list, and I’m humbled and honored the Army is allowing me the opportunity to soldier on,” he said.