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Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011

Wounded warrior relies on resiliency

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FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — Col. Greg Gadson made the story of his personal obstacles into a steppingstone as he took the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s senior leadership through a discussion of resiliency. Gadson, director of the Army Wounded Warrior Program, described the path he’s taken since losing most of both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.

“Resiliency is not something you pick up,” Gadson said. “Resiliency is not something you pull out of your pocket. It’s something you have to work on every day. It’s about how you deal with life.”

Gadson joined the Army to play on the West Point football team. A Field Artillery officer, he served in every major conflict of the past two decades: Kuwait (Desert Shield and Desert Storm), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Iraq, where he encountered an improvised explosive device.

“There are no shortcuts in healing. It’s a process,” he said. “As dramatic as it is physically, it’s much more challenging emotionally and intellectually. What I found out is life is not about what we don’t have; it’s about what we have. I feel so fortunate to be here and the opportunity to continue serving.”

Gasdon will take command of the Fort Belvoir garrison in July.

“I don’t like to give energy to things that are negative,” Gadson said. “Saying, ‘we will not fail’ is different than saying ‘we will succeed.’ It’s a possibility that A, B and C might happen, but don’t give energy to the negative. ... “Of all the things I (didn’t)want to do, I didn’t want to fall. I came to accept that falling would be a part of my life and I didn’t need to be afraid or embarrassed about it. I analyzed it and decided what I would do. Would I let it stop me, or would I accept it? Ultimately, I accepted it.

“Don’t ask why. Ask what. Don’t ask why is this happening. Instead of asking why, ask what. Why isn’t important.”

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