Not Just A Character In A Movie
“I’ve never seen an alien. Have you ever seen an alien?”
The character, Mick Canales, had lost both of his legs. He believed that he could no longer be a soldier, which was something he had been all of his adult life. He didn’t want to cooperate in physical therapy. He was abrupt and rude. Then something happened. His physical therapist was told to get off the mountain because aliens had landed. The earth was under attack.
“I’ve never seen an alien. Have you ever seen an alien? With that line by Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales, I realized that the character was returning to the soldier he thought that he could no longer be.
The movie is Battleship. I like science fiction movies and years ago when my son was in junior high, we played the game. I wanted to see the movie without knowing its plot nor who was starring. It had to be my kind of movie.
When the character of Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales was introduced, I thought it could not be special effects. The actor had to be a real amputee and not just a real amputee, but also a military man. At the end when the credits rolled, I watched for the name of the actor. His real name is Gregory D. Gadson. Well, it’s more than that. He is actually Colonel Gregory D. Gadson.
A native of Chesapeake, Va., raised by a teacher mom and pharmacist dad, Gadson played Division I football and applied to West Point. He graduated in 1989 and served in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in Kuwait. Subsequently, he served in Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On May 7, 2007 in Baghdad, he was returning from a memorial service for two soldiers from his brigade when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device. Gadson lost both legs above the knee and suffered a severe injury to his right arm. Rather than taking a medical retirement, Gadson requested to stay on active duty.
Colonel Gadson became one of the first soldiers fitted with a next-generation powered prosthetic knee. It allows amputees to walk with a more natural gait. He became a motivational speaker, and is credited with motivating the New York Giants to win the Superbowl in 2007. The Giants minted a special championship ring for Gadson.
For almost two years, he was director of the Army Wounded Warrior program, and in 2010, he became an Army War College Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.
On June 25, 2012, Col. Gregory D. Gadson assumed command of Fort Belvoir, Va., a 47,000-strong garrison in its 100th year of service.
Col. Gadson holds Masters Degrees in Information Systems and Policy Management from Webster University. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Advanced Field Artillery Officers Course.
Regarding the role of Mick Canales in Battleship, Col. Gadson said that the director sought him out. Col. Gadson performed his own stunts in the movie. It was a perfect role for him because he could relate to being a career soldier and having that cut short when wounded and the struggle of finding strength within. He is now able to use his experience as a soldier, and experience as an amputee, to help others.
As he says in one line in the movie, “I got this.” Yes, you certainly do. Thank you, Colonel Gregory D. Gadson, for serving America and for your strong courage in overcoming and using that overcoming to motivate others. You are an inspiration.
Hope you enjoy the following clips from the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and you like science fiction with aliens along with the military winning, (and a little love story added in for good measure), it’s a must see.