Battleship: Webster Alumnus Greg Gadson Stars in Hollywood Film

| May 23, 2012
Webster University 2010 Commencement speaker Lt. Col. Greg Gadson

Lt. Col. Greg Gadson

Army Col. Greg Gadson MA ’01, who delivered an inspiring address at Webster University’s 2010 Commencement ceremony and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University, makes his acting debut in the summer action film, “Battleship,” opening in theaters this weekend.

Art imitates life in the film as Gadson, who lost his legs in a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007, plays Mike Canales, a legless, wounded Army veteran.

Gadson talked about his breakout film role with NBC News’ Mara Schiavocampo in Honolulu, Hawaii. Click here to watch the interview.

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Gadson as 2010 Commencement Speaker

Below you can watch Gadson’s 2010 Commencement address at Webster University, as well as read


Text of the article about Gadson from the 2010 Commencement book:

Army Lt. Col. Greg Gadson (MA ’01) knows a thing or two about the value of teamwork.

As a linebacker in high school in Virginia and in college at West Point, he experienced it on the field. As an Army soldier, he experienced it in tours of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. He discovered that in military service, as in football, teamwork is essential to success in daily life: The unit cannot function without the contributions shared and bonds developed among each member.

But a life-changing incident in 2007 reminded Gadson how those bonds serve not just the present, but also the future.

On May 7 of that year, Gadson’s Second Battalion and 32nd Field Artillery was in Baghdad – returning from a memorial service for two fellow soldiers – when a roadside bomb ejected him from his vehicle. Lying unconscious and severely injured on the side of the road, his life now hung on the actions of his teammates, who found him and immediately applied tourniquets to both legs.

Gadson went through 129 pints of blood the first night. A week later, he arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., facing the amputation of his left leg, then his right. His right arm was also severely injured. His life had changed, but his teammates had saved it.

Gadson’s Army family was critical to his recovery, to his own family’s ability to get through the trauma. News of his injuries brought old teammates back together for the first time in years. It was an old West Point teammate who inadvertently helped him resume his career – now as a speaker, a lieutenant colonel in the Army’s Warrior Transition Brigade, and a fellow of the War College.

That former teammate, New York Giants assistant coach Mike Sullivan, visited Gadson during his recovery at Walter Reed. That led to an invitation to speak to Sullivan’s struggling Giants team about service, teamwork, dedication. The NFL team took to Gadson’s message, reversing an 0-2 start and winning 10 consecutive road games on their way to a Super Bowl victory. They invited him to return before playoff games that year and named Gadson an honorary co-captain, citing his guiding message as a key to their victories.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin called Gadson “a powerful man with a powerful spirit.” Coughling credited Gadson’s presence and inspiration for giving the team “the idea that the spirit rises above all these adverse conditions.”

Today the recipient of three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal spreads his message to Army families and civilians alike, speaking to soldiers and families at bases around the world.

“I’m living the journey right now,” Gadson said back in 2008, during the Giants’ run to the Super Bowl and his own transition to a new phase of life. “I’ve come a long way, and I still have a long way to go. I don’t believe you ever really arrive in life. You live life.”

Category: Advancement, Military, Webster in the News, Webster News

Comments (2)

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  1. He was also featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show on May 20th.

  2. Michelle wilson says:

    My husband was the Iraq interperter for Gadson’s Second Battalion and 32nd Field Artillery was in Baghdad and I would like someone to contact me in regards to getting help for my husband who also put his life on the line to help the us army out.