Davion Wood completes training at Fort Benning

Published 10:41 pm Thursday, December 29, 2022

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Private 1st Class Davion AnTwan Wood, son of Clarissa Wood, of Brantley, will soon depart for his first assignment with the U.S. Army.

Davion graduated basic training in September. He quickly earned the rank of Private First Class and during the U.S. Army Turning Green Ceremony held on Sept. 9, he was presented with a patch his mother placed on his left arm, signifying his completion of basic training and new journey as a soldier

Clarissa pinned Davion’s Blue Infantry Cord to his right shoulder during the U.S. Army Turning Blue Ceremony held Dec. 7.

The following day, in front of friends and family, Wood graduated from Advanced individual training and officially transitioned from a civilian into a soldier.

“Becoming a soldier was something I always wanted to do, but never really saw myself taking that step,” Davion said. “Being in the military is going to open up many opportunities for me and I am excited to meet new people, explore other parts of the world, and see and experience new things. I am excited about protecting my country and the ones I love.”

The 2022 Luverne High School graduate will head to New York, in January, where he will be stationed, after spending some time at home with his friends and family.

During his time at home, he will be working with Hometown Recruiting and Staff Sgt. Eric Oppong-Agyare.

It was Oppong-Agyare that lit a fire within Davion that ultimately led him to join the Army, through which he received $85,000.00 for college and a cash sign-on bonus.

During Davion’s senior year in high school, he was unsure of what he wanted to do after graduation and had begun to get discouraged. He crossed paths with Oppong-Agyare and shortly after their meeting Davion enlisted. On June 28, 2022, at the age of 17, he left for 10 weeks of basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, followed by 12 weeks of Advanced Individual Training.

Clarissa said that he was living a stagnant life before joining the Army.. According to Clarissa, Davion’s lack of motivation caused his grades to drop and his overall persona to be “down and out.”

However, Davion’s attitude and outlook drastically changed for the better from the moment he signed his name on the U.S. Army dotted line.

Clarissa said that like all mothers, when she heard the words “I’m joining the military” she immediately thought of all the dangers but it did not take long for the worrisome feelings to be overpowered by feelings of pride and peace.

“When he told me that an Army recruiter was on the way for me to sign some papers, I instantly began thinking about all the bad stuff,” she said. “But now I am just so proud and I support him 100%. When Davion returned from basic training in September I quickly noticed how much he had changed. When I looked in his eyes, I did not see the 17-year-old boy that left in June. I saw a man. He has been so much more joyful, and polite, and respectful and helpful.”

Although Clarissa said she knows being an Army mom may increase her worries for her son, the look in Davion’s eyes and all the positive changes confirmed in her mind that the right choice was made.

“God has a plan for all of us,” she said. “It is already written. We have to pray and trust God. Although Davion was doing the hard work at basic training, I was doing my work with God here. I often write down my prayers on paper and put them in special places. I prayed those prayers again and again and every night before I went to bed, I’d pray with my bible on his bed opened to Psalm 91. That is what got me through my end of the basic training and now I know the Lord’s plan for Davion is in action.”

Davion said he wants high school students who are struggling with what to do after graduation to know that they are capable of anything, even things you think you cannot do.

“Just don’t give up on yourself,” he said. “Don’t let anyone’s opinion stop you. Do what you feel you’d like the most. If college isn’t something you’re ready for, go to a trade school, join the military, or start working your way towards the perfect job and a happy life. Set a goal, and achieve it.”

Davion and his family send a special thank you to the following veterans for their support and encouragement: E-5 Specialty Welder Langford Ivan (Navy) age 89 of Luverne, and LTC.Torres Marco (Army) age 88 of Luverne.