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'Start Your Engines!' Wounded Army Col. To Give Command At Grand Prix Of Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—One man will serve as grand marshal over this weekend's festival of speed. His biggest responsibility is to order drivers to start their engines in the Grand Prix of Baltimore.

And as Gigi Barnett explains, he has plenty of experience giving orders.

Army Col. Gregory Gadson has served in every major American conflict of the last 20 years.

He's accustomed to giving orders. And this weekend, he'll give a special command at the Grand Prix of Baltimore.

"My biggest responsibility is to give the command for drivers to start their engines. So, that's quite an honor," Gadson said.

Gadson will add the honor to a long list. He has the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

During his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Gadson lost both of his legs and severely wounded his right arm.

"You can go up to Bethesda or Walter Reed any day and I can see young men and women who have been through a whole lot more than I have and they're smiling and optimistic, and they just want to get on with their lives and that's really what it's all about," Gadson said.

Gadson played football at West Point and always enjoyed IndyCars.

Even though he's in a wheelchair and has prosthetic legs now, he says he's still a speed junky and has one wish for this weekend's festival of speed.

"I hope I'm going to get a chance to ride in the Tandem IndyCar. So, I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get that opportunity," he said.

Gadson is still on active duty and was recently featured in the major motion picture "Battleship."

Gadson will serve as the grand marshal in Sunday's race.

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