Colonel Lee Ellis USAF (Ret)
Colonel Ellis, a native of Commerce, GA, entered pilot training at Moody Air Force Base, Valdosta, Georgia. He was assigned to combat training in the F-4C Phantom fighter bomber with follow-on orders to Vietnam.
After arriving in Vietnam, Ellis was assigned to execute bombing raids in
North Vietnam, one of the heaviest guarded regions of the country. On his 53rd mission, he and aircraft commander, Captain Ken Fisher, received serious damage to their F-4C Phantom aircraft. Both men had to eject from the fighter jet and were immediately captured. He was imprisoned at the Hoa Loa Prison in Hanoi, Vietnam (Hanoi Hilton). For 9 months, Col Ellis and three other comrades shared a 6'x7.5' cell. Over the next 5 ½ years, Ellis' described his POW experience as "moments of boredom interrupted by stark moments of terror." Ellis and his comrades used subversive communications to stay in touch with each other without being caught. Ellis became one of the key communicators in the camps using a tap code system. Colonel Ellis was released March 14, 1973.
(Col Ellis has graciously offered to sign his book, "Leading with Honor" at the event and donate 50% of the event book sale to the Semper Fi Fund)