Veteran's Debut

A wounded warrior lends affecting depth to one summer popcorn picture
May 28, 2012

It's no surprise that Col. Greg Gadson was not intimidated by his first feature film role, as a wounded veteran in the recently released summer blockbuster, Battleship. The former West Point linebacker has, after all, participated in every major U.S. combat operation of the last two decades. In 2008, a year after he lost both his legs above the knee in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated beneath his vehicle, he served as an honorary captain for the Giants during New York's run to victory in Super Bowl XLII. (He received his second championship ring, for the Giants' win in Super Bowl XLVI, on May 16.) Two years later he took over as the director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program, which provides aid and assistance to injured and ill soldiers and veterans. He works with generals. He has met presidents. "I wasn't starstruck," says Gadson, 46, who played most of his scenes opposite former SI swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. "I mean, this was only Brooklyn's second film."

Reviewers have noted the parallels between Gadson and Harold Russell, who lost both his hands in a training accident during World War II and went on to win two Academy Awards in 1947 for his portrayal of an emotionally scarred Navy vet in The Best Years of Our Lives. Nobody is predicting an Oscar for Gadson, but his performance, which includes a gnarly fight with an alien invader—a scene for which he did most of his own stunt work—has been praised as authentic and inspiring.

So will there be more movies to come? Gadson, who took leave from his duties to make Battleship, says he's not sure. He is due to take command of the garrison at Fort Belvoir, Va., in June. He did enjoy acting, he says, though he admits to being less comfortable with the emotional side of the job. "Like in sports, you can only do what you have to do," he says, "and you can't control what everybody else is doing."

THEY SAID IT

"I've had enough."

BOB BAFFERT

Trainer of Bodemeister, explaining his decision not to run his colt in the Belmont Stakes, after Bodemeister was narrowly beaten out for victories in stretch runs at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness by Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another

NASCAR

BURNING BUSCH

The big news from last Saturday's NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte? Jimmie Johnson won, earning $1.1 million, and Kurt Busch did not blow a gasket and get himself fined—as he did the week before at Darlington. Busch did remark, however, that his May 12 run-in with driver Ryan Newman was "WWE-type action" and "good for our sport." By that measure, Busch has been a glorious boon to the circuit over the last 12 years.

March 24, 2002

Wins first Cup race at Bristol by bumping leader Jimmy Spencer out of the way

Aug. 17, 2003

Gets punched by Spencer at Michigan

Nov. 21, 2004

Finishes fifth at Homestead to clinch first Cup

Nov. 13, 2005

Suspended for season's final two races and fired by Roush Racing two days after being cited by police in Phoenix for reckless driving. "We're officially retiring as Kurt Busch's apologists," says Roush president Geoff Smith

June 4, 2007

Crashes with Tony Stewart at Dover, then runs into Stewart's car on pit road, narrowly missing his jackman

Feb. 8, 2008

Pushed into the wall by Stewart in practice at Daytona; retaliates by ramming Stewart's car three times on way to garage

Nov. 20, 2011

Suffers engine problems at Homestead and makes obscene gesture in garage, then verbally abuses ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch. Leaves Penske Racing

May 12, 2012

After tangling with Newman at Darlington, drives through Newman's pit stall, then rams Newman on pit road, prompting near brawl between crews. Fined $50,000 and put on two months' probation by NASCAR

PHOTOBILL FRAKES PHOTOFRANK MASI/©UNIVERSAL PICTURESSUPPORTING PLAYER Gadson was an honorary captain for Manning (10) and New York before costarring with Decker (above, right). PHOTOMIKE GROLL/AP[See caption above] PHOTOGEOFF BURKE/GETTY IMAGES FOR NASCAR PHOTOROB SWEETEN/AP PHOTOTERRY RENNA/AP

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)