By Sgt. Quanesha DeloachApril 14, 2016
Retired Col. Gregory D. Gadson, who lost both legs in a roadside bomb attack in 2007, facilitated a discussion on the event's theme, "developing character, living the Army Values and why and how we serve."
"Leadership is about hope," said Gadson. "Leadership is a person who has confidence and the character to lead you."
Maj. Gen. Thomas James, 7th Infantry Division commanding general, stressed the importance of living the Army Values.
"How do we develop that character?" James asked. "Leaders have to lead by outstanding personal examples twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Also during the I Corps-hosted symposium, JBLM leaders learned about the importance of purpose, values, virtues, morals and consequence.
As Gadson shared how he lost his legs, he told the attendees that as an officer, he always identified himself as a Soldier first, and he continued serving after his injury because he wanted continue to help others.
"As a leader, never ask why; ask what the Army needs us to do," he said.
Speakers at the event continued to emphasize a message from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley: "We must always treat each other with respect and lead with integrity. Our Soldiers are the crown jewels of the nation; we must love them, protect them and always keep faith with them."
This JLAPS theme of "developing character" resonated with Soldiers in attendance.
"Gadson explained to me how to focus on my character as a leader, how I can help myself become a better noncommissioned officer," said Staff Sgt. Mark Williams, an engineer team leader in 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command. "I will always remember, it is not about the rank, it is about being an outstanding leader."
Gadson added, that the message for young leaders was position does not make a great leader. Integrity does.
"The basic fundamentals are dignity and respect," he said. "Leaders don't lead by rank; they lead by character."