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Wounded warrior promotes his hero to sergeant

Roger Teel

Lt. Col. Gregory Gadson (right) promoted a former battle buddy, Sgt. Eric Brown, to his present rank during the 22nd Chemical Battalion's organizational day activities at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Gadson credited Brown with saving his life after an improvised explosive device destroyed both of his legs in Iraq in 2007. Roger Teel

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 11, 2009)

A wounded warrior came to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Aug. 6, to promote a Soldier who saved his life.

Lt. Col. Gregory Gadson, currently an Army War College Fellow at the Institute for World Politics, drove to the 22nd Chemical Battalion’s organization day activities at Capa Field to pin sergeant stripes on his former battle buddy, Sgt. Eric Brown.

About 300 Soldiers, family members and unit supporters applauded the emotional event.

“This is significant because this is the year of the noncommissioned officer,” said Gadson. “I couldn’t think of any other noncommissioned officer I would be more proud to promote.”

Gadson lost both legs below the knee when an improvised explosive device detonated next to his up-armored Humvee in Baghdad on May 7, 2007. The explosion threw him some 200 feet from the vehicle.

After the blast, Brown, the unit’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear NCO, who did double duty as the unit medic, raced from his position in the fourth vehicle of the convoy. He provided first aid to another injured Soldier before locating the colonel, then applied tourniquets to stem Gadson’s loss of blood.

“If he didn’t get those tourniquets on my legs when he did, and prayed with me when he did, I would not be standing here today,” Gadson said. “When I got to the hospital, I had a blood pressure of 40. That night I went through 129 pints of blood. And I tell you that only to tell you how bad off I was,” Gadson added.

Thanking the 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort) leadership for the opportunity to promote his former Soldier, Gadson deflected all attention to his hero.

“This day is truly about Sgt. Brown, who is a quiet professional. He’s been that way since he came to 2d Battalion, 32d Field Artillery, 1st Infantry Division, over two years ago,” Gadson said, referring to the battalion he led into battle.

“As a young private first class, when our battalion was asked to perform as an infantry battalion in Baghdad during the surge, we realized we did not have enough medics to cover the density of folks we needed to cover on the battlefield,” Gadson explained.

“Because of who he is, because we knew we could count on him, we were able to send Brown to an emergency medical technician course at Kansas State University just weeks before we deployed.

“They say that in life everybody’s got an angel,” Gadson added. “Well, you’re looking at my angel right here...my battle buddy...and there’s not a day that I don’t think about him and wonder how he’s doing. And I know he’s going to continue to do great things.

“I want to thank God for getting me here, and for getting Lt. Col. Gadson here and for everything he’s done,” said Brown, who will deploy to Afghanistan in September.

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