Luverne native commits to U.S. Marine Corps

Published 4:40 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

At just 18 years old, Ira Anthony Walton III of Luverne is embarking on a life-changing journey as a Poolee with the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) delayed entry program (DEP). Walton is set to depart March 27 for Recruit Training in Parris Island, SC.

DEP Enrollment is a unique opportunity where Walton will receive guidance on his military career as well as in all aspects of life. According to Walton’s recruiter, Sergeant Kevin Kriz, having a mentor and being on the receiving end of constructive guidance is a constant in the USMC.

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“Mentorship is something Walton will experience throughout his entire time in the Marines, whether it is four years or 40,” Kriz said. “The DEP starts getting them accustomed to this from day one. Mentorship ensures that these young men and women have someone who has experience in the Marine Corps and in life that can guide them from day one on how to constantly improve themselves and set themselves up to be successful in their careers and as people. I am already very proud of Ira. He’s come a long way and is a very determined and motivating young man. With his drive and dedication he will go very far.”

Poolees receive guaranteed placement, allowing them a glimpse into their future career path in the Marines. Thanks to his high Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score, which is part of the overall Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), Walton gained the opportunity to choose from a variety of training programs and ultimately selected cyber integration and intelligence.

According to Kriz, scoring 31 on the AFQT qualifies an individual for service, while the specific line scores rank applicants for job programs. Walton exceeded this standard by scoring a 93 on the AFQT with line scores that were each over 115, qualifying him for every job available in the Marine Corps.

Walton said he has always been fascinated by top-secret missions, spies and the world of espionage. He grew up admiring heroes like James Bond and the Avengers, and now he feels ready to make a name for himself in the real world. With the USMC, he hopes to gain valuable experience and knowledge in the field of cybersecurity and intel where he plans to make his career.

Walton’s mother, Sheena Mahone of Luverne, said she is proud of her son’s dedication and hard work. She knows her son will excel in his chosen career and is confident he will make the most of this opportunity.

“Ira has faced several challenges to get to where he is now with the main challenge being having to face losing his father at such a young age when he was killed in 2012 in a car accident,” Mahone said. “Ira has a strong faith foundation and I know that the marines is going to give him the tools that will allow him to be an inspiration to others, showing them that although life can throw many difficulties at you, you can either let that stop you or motivate you to be better and make something of your life. He is destined for greatness, that is how I raised him to think. I have taught all my children to never limit themselves and to give their all with everything they do and I can’t wait to see how far Ira goes.”

According to Sergeant Kriz, DEP can be especially beneficial for individuals who are looking to make a long-term commitment to the Marines.

“The DEP is designed to prepare young men and women for the mental and physical rigors of training and allow them a window into life in the Marine Corps before attending Recruit Training,” Kriz said. “For those looking to create a long-term military career, there are career planners within the Marine Corps that advise and help establish those individuals once they have completed the Delayed Entry Program and Recruit Training.”

Before joining the Marines, Walton faced a significant challenge – losing weight to qualify for entry.. Determined to succeed, Walt dropped 75 pounds, going from 300 to 225 in six months. He credits his success to a strong sense of self-control and a willingness to face challenges head-on.

“I have been taught to fear nothing and to face all challenges head-on,” Walton said. “I believe that motivation is temporary, but discipline is permanent and will take me further than ambition. If you have the mindset, you can accomplish anything you want to. I have always known I could do better, but I didn’t have any drive before finding my purpose with the marine Corp. I am ready for what is ahead, and I am looking forward to any challenges that may come my way.”