Distinguished Speaker

We are happy to announce that Colonel Gregory D. Gadson will be our distinguished speaker at our Battle of Midway 76th Commemoration Ceremony on Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. at Historic World War II Revetment District, Barbers Point Stables, Ewa Plain Battlefield, Kapolei, Hawaii 96707.

Sponsored by: American Veterans Hawaii and the Barbers Point Riding Club

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

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.

Assignments

Commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, Virginia[3]

Director, Army Wounded Warrior Program, Alexandria, Virginia

2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery

4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Fort Riley)

Battalion fire direction officer for 5th Battalion, 18th Field Artillery, III Corps at Fort Sill

Division targeting officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery

Battalion adjutant, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment

Battalion fire support officer, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Commander, Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment

Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg

Personnel distribution officer and human resources commander, Alexandria, Virginia

Battalion operations officer, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery

Operations officer and Executive officer, 25th Infantry Division

Special assistant to the commanding general, United States Army Pacific at Fort Shafter

Deployments

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)

Injury

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

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)

Col Gadson is also authorized to wear the Combat Action Badge and the Master Parachutist Badge.[5]

Civil awards

He won the prestigious Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards in 2017 given by Viscardi center to honour the extraordinary leaders with disabilities.[6]

Athletics

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.[7] and in recognition for his contribution, Gadson received a specially minted Super Bowl ring.[8] Gadson has since remained with the team as a motivational speaker.

Acting career

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.[9]

Photography

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.[10]

Filmography

Battleship (2012) - Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales

The Inspectors (2015-2016) - David Cole (10 episodes)