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Former Ft. Belvoir Commander Col. Gregory Gadson has advice for moving on

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Gregory Gadson says that success happens by staying present, and letting go of the invisible anchors that hold you back.

Gadson knows what he’s talking about. The war hero, actor, photographer, philanthropist and business owner is also the first-ever double amputee to command a major military installation — Fort Belvoir.

On Tuesday (July 12), Gadson spoke at the quarterly ALX Community Founders TALX incubator, and gave tips to business owners on success.

“Look, I understand we all have goals, we got things that we want to achieve and got to, we’ve got to have a bar, we’ve got to have a beacon, we got to have a direction,” Gadson said. “Life is about the journey. But how many of us truly, truly live every day?”

Gadson is the cofounder and managing partner with Patriot Strategies, and also cofounded Diversitypop.

Before he was wounded in Iraq in 2007, the Chesapeake native was a football star at West Point, after which he lived the life of a professional soldier — without thinking too far ahead. On May 7, 2007, he was the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 32 Field Artillery, returning from a memorial service for two soldiers. His Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device, and he lost both his legs above the knee. He was brought back to life six times and received 129 pints of blood.

“How many of us live our lives every single day like it’s my last day?” Gadson asked. “Tomorrow is not promised. Every one of us in here one day will not have a tomorrow.”

Gadson continued, “That was the gift that I received on May 7, 2007 — that I live my life in the present… If you’re dragging something from yesterday with you today, you’re encumbered. You’re uncovering yourself with something you can’t change. I say release it. Let it go. It’s an invisible anchor that you’re holding that’s gonna prevent you from being the best that you can be.”

After his incident, Gadson petitioned to stay in the Army. He retired after 26 years in uniform in 2014 as the Garrison Commander of Fort Belvoir.

“What’s your passion?” he asked. “What’s your purpose? What gets you up? I started to think about that, and I said, ‘Okay, what gets me up is being able to pursue my passions, to pursue my service, my continued service.”

Gadson also became an actor, with a speaking role in the movie “Battleship.” Last year, he acted in Denzel Washington’s A Journal For Jordan, and said that he will be playing a role in the upcoming season of NCIS: Los Angeles.

“I’ll be playing a retired colonel,” Gadson said.

Gadson said that he has three rules to living life.

“Be present, be your best and be at peace,” he said. ” Challenge yourself grow. Don’t be afraid.”

Col. Gregory Gadson talks at ALX Community on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

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