Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. Gregory D. Gadson encouraged Soldiers who have sustained injuries to be willing to seek help during a U.S. Army Facebook chat sponsored in honor of Warrior Care Month (November) on Nov. 26.
During the Facebook chat, Gadson advised those who suffered injuries in combat to take their recovery one day at a time. They may have to do things differently than in the past, but that is okay, he said.
Both of Gadson's legs were amputated above the knee due to injuries sustained when a roadside bomb detonated outside his vehicle in Iraq on May 7, 2007 as a member of 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment.
"It is Warrior Care Month," Gadson said after the Facebook chat. "I just think it is part of my responsibility to share with, not just folks that have been wounded but their Families, my experiences and for them to know that you can come out the other side and things will be better."
Community members, and others, posted their questions for Gadson on the Army Facebook page during the chat. Gadson responded to the questions in a conference room at the Fort Belvoir headquarters building. Participants asked questions about supporting injured Soldiers, overcoming challenges during military service and building resilience.
The Facebook chat lasted one hour and more than 6,690 people visited the page that contained his answers resulting in 994 comments and 296 shares. Brittany Brown, the Army's social media manager, facilitated the discussion.
Gadson is the Army's first double-amputee to serve as the commander of an installation. He has served as an Army officer in every major military conflict over the past two decades. Gadson routinely visits military hospital recovery and rehabilitation centers to share his story. He also performed his own stunts when he played an Army veteran who helped save the world from aliens in the movie Battleship.
During the Facebook chat, Gadson said he has post-traumatic stress disorder. He urged those dealing with the condition to talk about it with those around them, saying, "Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness."
He described some of his experiences as traumatic, but said that it is a part of life. Gadson said that his greatest sources of strength are his Christian faith, his Family and his friends.
He also said that he does not have any regrets about his Army career. He encouraged young people who are debating whether they should join the military to go for it, because at some point in their lives they will not be able to. That will keep them from looking back on their lives and wishing that they still had a chance to join the armed forces.
"Some people define rich by what's in their bank account, but I define rich by the experiences I've had and the people I've met," Gadson said during the Facebook chat. "By that measure, I feel like I'm the richest man in the world having been a Soldier."
Many Facebook chat participants also asked questions about his experiences as an actor for the movie Battleship. He said the director, Peter Berg, called him at his home to ask if he would be in the movie. While Gadson said he is not moving to Hollywood, he is also not ruling out a future appearance in a major motion picture.