Colonel Gregory Dimitri Gadson was born 19 February 1966 in Oklahoma City, OK. He was raised in Chesapeake, Virginia, graduating from Indian River High School in 1985, where he was an outstanding student athlete. During his four years at West Point he excelled as a cadet leader and as a linebacker on the Army football team. He was commissioned in June 1989 as a Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery.
Gadson served in every major conflict of the past two decades, including Operations Desert Shield/Storm in Kuwait; Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His greatest challenge came in Iraq in 2007, when he lost both his legs and severely injured his right arm due to a roadside bomb explosion. As a double amputee, he chose to remain on active duty rather than accept medical retirement. For the next two years, he served as the Director of the Army Wounded Warrior Program. Upon promotion to Colonel, he was assigned as the Garrison Commander of Fort Belvoir, where he commanded more than 50,000 military personnel. He retired in 2014 after 25 years of active duty service.
Gadson continues a very energetic and dynamic lifestyle in which he serves his nation as an entrepreneur and managing partner of Patriot Strategies, LLC, a government services company. He also seeks to encourage wounded warriors, veterans, and those with disabilities as a motivational speaker.
In 2016 Gadson, in an interview for the Veterans History Project (Library of Congress), he talked about a conversation with Coach Bill Curry, University of Alabama football Coach. Curry said, “Young man, you have something to share with the world, don’t be afraid to share it.” A month later he shared his experience with the New York Giants football team and in the interview, he continued, “So, as my life continues I made the promise when I transition [to civilian life], that I make sure to make time to serve my community, and my community is my veterans community, the military community, the disability community, the African American community, and I make time for those things, and that’s why I’m here with Salute to Veterans. So that’s part of my charter.”
Gadson’s military service awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, and three Meritorious Service Medals. He was one of nine recipients in the world to receive the 2017 prestigious Henry Viscardi Achievement honoring leaders who have served as a powerful force for change and enhanced the opportunities for people with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of society.