Skip to main content

Pooler Magazine

Welcome Home

Welcome Home, SFC Ryan Davis

Story by Cindy Reid

U.S. Army SFC Ryan Davis, 1st Ranger Battalion, says he has no complaints. “I served ten years and had a wonderful career except for one bad day.”

His bad day resulted in massive injury and the amputation of three limbs, three years of surgeries, many medical interventions, and subsequent hard fought recoveries. SFC Davis’s bad day would have been the end for most people. But he is definitely not most people.

Now back home, Davis, his wife Asia and their son Knox, are ready for the next challenge in their lives.


Growing up Edmond, Oklahoma, Davis was the kid that was always outside, usually with a baseball or football in his hand. He played both sports in high school and earned a baseball scholarship to the University of Texas at Arlington. He says, “I went to college and got a degree, which essentially I did it for my mom and dad.”

After graduation he went to work with his father but says, “I always wanted to be a soldier.”

After enlisting in the U.S. Army, Davis successfully completed Ranger training and became a Ranger with lst Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia.

Rangers are an elite Special Operations Force that specialize in conducting raids and assault missions deep inside enemy territory. The regiment is an all-volunteer force with an intensive screening and selection process followed by rigorous combat-focused training. As the Army says, “To become a Ranger is no easy task.” 

Throughout his five deployments to Afghanistan and Syria, Davis led service members on multiple missions and liked finding ways to inspire the younger soldiers. He, Asia, and Knox settled in Pooler and made many friends in the community over the course of ten years. Life was good, and then came that one bad day.

One Bad Day

On August 16, 2019, Davis was severely injured in combat while on a mission in Afghanistan with his unit, 1st Ranger Battalion. His injuries were life threatening and he was unable to be extracted as they were pinned down by enemy fire. For two hours, he laid in the dirt receiving blood from his fellow soldiers as the medics had used all the blood they carried. This was the first time the procedure had been done on the battlefield.

SFC Davis underwent 28 surgeries, leaving him as a triple amputee, losing his right arm above the elbow, right leg above the knee, and left leg below the knee. He also shattered his pelvis and hip and suffered many internal injuries. There were bacterial infections that have never been identified before, trial antibiotics from Japan, the surgical removal of his right side abdominal muscles and right pelvis, and a first time hip reconstruction.

His treatment and recovery took place over the course of almost three years at the tier-one trauma center at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Searching for Inspiration 

It was an unimaginably difficult time. Accustomed to being a leader in the field, Davis now found himself looking for inspiration from others who had been through what he was now experiencing.

“I got inspired by different people in different phases. One in particular was when I was really sick and Covid had isolated me in the hospital. No visitors, not even my wife Asia. It was a very isolated time,” he says. “I finally picked up my phone and reached out to the internet, which is usually a bad move, and I found the Travis Mills Organization.”

United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne was critically injured in 2012 on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan by an IED (improvised explosive device) while on patrol, losing portions of both legs and both arms. He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries. Travis Mills’ motto is “Never give up. Never quit.”

“Same story, same scenario as me except he lost all his limbs. Afterwards he started an organization in Maine that helps soldiers with mindset healing events. I watched his videos and then he reached out to me after my nurses contacted him and told him I was watching him all the time. In this case the internet was life altering for me.”

Warriors helping warriors became an integral part of SFC Davis’s recovery.

Back to the Coast

Today SFC Davis is back in Georgia enjoying “kind of a break after three years of constant medical treatment and surgeries. For me 2021 was an entire year full of recovery efforts. The transition back to Georgia has been long and often delayed.”

The City of Pooler held a Memorial Remembrance Ceremony at City Hall on May 30, and Councilwoman Karen L. Williams delivered the following remarks to introduce Davis and welcome him back to the coastal community.

Today we welcome home SFC Ryan Davis, a triple amputee who was severely injured in Afghanistan while with the 1st Ranger Battalion. His spirit and true grit to come home to his family has been so inspiring to so many.

In August of 2019, his wife Asia received the phone call no wife wants to receive. She was too upset to speak with the surgeons so I listened as they said they didn’t know his chances of survival, that it was really bad.

SFC Davis never gave up on living, and he fought with everything he had. He had to come back to his loving family. The last three years have been painful both mentally and physically for the entire family, yet at the same time praiseworthy because he never stopped fighting. His spirit is as strong as ever, and his smile has remained bright and cheerful.

He says he is a better man now than he was before. He is the epitome of a brave soldier and a strong family man.

SFC Davis says, “Right now we are living at Hunter Airfield, where it’s easier for me to get around. The Gary Sinise Foundation is building us a house in Richmond Hill. We already have the land, and it looks like it will be a year ahead.”

As they have for many veterans, the Gary Sinise Foundation will build a specially adapted smart home to accommodate Davis’s mobility needs.

He says they tried different locations before settling on coastal Georgia for their new home. “I tried the mountains. We gave it three weeks, but the cold weather creates a more difficult living environment.”

Being in and around the water became a top priority after a family vacation.

“Recently Asia, Knox and I went to the Turks and Caicaos, and I discovered the water will keep you standing straight up at waist high level, which was great. I also do a lot of low impact working out in the pool. Walter Reed Hospital fitted me for a ‘fin’ for my nub, which I use for a good workout.” He says “Calling me to the water is the stability I find there. Prior workouts were more gym orientated, now I am phasing away from that style workout to the water.”

Knot Lucky

Being back on the coast has led to a new venture for Davis. “I have had the opportunity to work with Knot Lucky, which is essentially war fighters out on the water. A war friend I used to be deployed with, Jimmy Armel, started it because he discovered post-traumatic stress is managed well in the environment of off-shore fishing trips.” He laughs, “Captain Jimmy has multiple traumatic brain injuries from a blast wave, and I got hit everywhere but the brain so together we make a good team!”

Captain Jimmy Armel founded American Fishing Charters, a fishing charter business out of Tybee Island, which funds his not for profit side, Knot Lucky.

Jimmy suffered from PTSD after the army and knows first-hand the challenges involved in returning to civilian life. His organization Knot Lucky takes veterans who are suffering from PTSD out on the water for free off-shore fishing trips. The act of escaping from land and getting out on to the water provides an escape from challenges that can seem insurmountable. Knot Lucky will provide resources to help veterans feel purpose again which will lead to happy, fulfilling, and successful lives.

Davis says water plus fishing is a winning combination. “People wonder how I could pull up a 40 pound kingfish but with a good set up, and good mindset and attitude it is very doable,” he says. “We go out twice a week, two old Rangers putting it out there on the water. Most of the time I drive the boat while Jimmy does the back of the boat work, setting lines etc. We are happy to be out there helping fellow vets.”

Going Forward

“The last six months, the return to our coastal life, no longer being in a triage situation fighting for my life, this has been a good time,” says Davis.

He would like to eventually resume a leadership position and inspire others, but it will take time. “I really haven’t honed that skill set yet. In the past when I was in peak physical condition, I was in the front, leading, where others could look to the front and see me.” Today he says, “I am an active duty enlisted SFC. I served ten years and had a wonderful career except for one bad day. I have no complaints.”

 SFC Davis’s nation and community indisputably see him as an inspirational leader—for serving his country, for valiantly fighting for his survival and recovery, and for using his time today to help heal other war fighters.

Thank you SFC Davis and welcome home.