Wounded warrior tells 2nd BCT to stay ‘Lightning Strong’

| January 26, 2012 | 0 Comments
Col. Gregory Gadson (right), director, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program, speaks to Soldiers with 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, Jan. 11, at the Nehelani, Schofield Barracks. Gadson spoke of resiliency and how it can help people make it through hard times. Gadson had both of his legs amputated above the knee after being struck by an IED during a 2007 deployment to Iraq.

Col. Gregory Gadson (right), director, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program, speaks to Soldiers with 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, Jan. 11, at the Nehelani, Schofield Barracks. Gadson spoke of resiliency and how it can help people make it through hard times. Gadson had both of his legs amputated above the knee after being struck by an IED during a 2007 deployment to Iraq.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Daniel K. Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Resiliency, an important characteristic for any warrior, was the focus of a discussion at the Nehelani, here, Jan. 11.

Col. Gregory Gadson, director, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program and a former member of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, spoke to Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers of 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd BCT, about his experiences.

His experiences include having both of his legs amputated above the knee after being struck by an improvised explosive device during a 2007

deployment.

Before Gadson served his country, he played football for Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Va., and for the U.S. Military Academy. Gadson graduated from West Point in 1989 and has served multiple combat tours including Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Your capacity to expand and deal with the unknown or unplanned” is how Gadson defined resiliency to the “Warriors” in attendance at the discussion.

“Resiliency should be trained and tested before it is needed to ensure that, when needed, it is available. Resilience is not something you want to find out you have or don’t have when you’re faced with adversity,” Gadson explained.

“All too often many of us find out what our resiliency is when we’re faced with unexpected adversity,” he said.

The Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, or “Lightning Strong,” as it’s called in the 25th ID, is designed specifically to ensure total Soldier fitness, to include resiliency.

“Every day we have an opportunity to live up to being the best that we can be,” Gadson said. “Everything you do has purpose.”

Though resiliency can be related to all of the Army’s values, integrity, in particular, can be an excellent way to practice resiliency, Gadson said.

Soldiers have to do the right thing all the time, Gadson said. It shouldn’t be something that is only done when their supervisor is watching.

“From workouts during (physical training) to instruction in a classroom,” Gadson said, “you’ve got to have an attitude that says ‘I’m going to do this to the best of my ability.’”

Some skills can aid in resiliency and allow someone to push farther and harder than they would otherwise. For example, Gadson said looking for the positive aspect of a situation, however remote, can allow a person to see past the negative aspects and strive to achieve their goals.

“Hunt the good stuff,” he said. “The way you approach and think about things can influence your ability to push.”

Hunting the good stuff became a habit for Gadson. Even though he lost both of his legs, he could still be a Soldier, and he knew he had the support of his family, friends and colleagues to help him through his recovery.

“Being a Soldier was not defined by me having my legs or not having my legs,” Gadson said. ”What was in my heart and what was in my mind is what made me a Soldier.”

According to Gadson, how you perform, lead and motivate yourself and those around you is what defines you as a leader and a Soldier.

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