FORT BELVOIR, Va. (WUSA) - A role in the action thriller "Battleship" is just part Col. Greg Gadson's new normal after a roadside bomb in Iraq destroyed both legs in 2007. Col. Gadson will soon be the commander at Fort Belvoir. He'll be the first double-amputee to command an Army post.
That's a story in itself...but there's more.
Col. Gadson, a former West Point football star, received a Legion of Merit award for his work in the job he's leaving: director of the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2). It assigns personal advocates who help each wounded warrior get on with his or her lives.
Today, he handed over that directorship to Col. Tim Karcher who is also a double amputee.
While on his third deployment to Iraq, after recovering from his first injury there, Karcher's vehicle struck an explosive which destroyed his legs.
Seeing these Colonels in leadership roles is inspirational to other wounded warriors, says Brigadier General Darryl Williams, who is leaving his post as Commander.
"It helps you empathize. To be able to walk into another soldier's hospital room and say, this is all going to buff out, you're going to be fine. And we're going to be with you," said Col. Karcher.
Both Colonels Karcher and Gadson have learned to walk with prosthetics, despite amputations above their knees. They also have post traumatic stress disorder, but they're learned to cope with what they call their new normal.
Col. Gadson has run the AW2 program since 2010, managing more than 200 advocates for 11,000 seriously wounded soldiers and veterans.