College of the Ozarks Hosts Former POW

January 24, 2014 11:51 AM


College of the Ozarks hosted former POW of Vietnam War retired Colonel Lee Ellis for a "teach-in" December 11, 2013, at 7 p.m., in Jones Auditorium.

"In light of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, College of the Ozarks welcomed Colonel Ellis to give our version of what a 'teach-in' should be," said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. "During the '60s and '70s many may recall numerous colleges shutting down classes to hold 'teach-ins,' in order to educate students on what some thought about the Vietnam War. At the College, where patriotism is a main goal, it was only fitting that he hold a 'teach-in' of sorts, too. Only the College's 'teach-in' educated students on the service and sacrifices made by American men and women who served in the Vietnam War and returned from honorable service only to be treated, in many cases, dishonorably."

During the 'teach-in' Colonel Ellis shared his experience at the infamous Camp Hanoi Hilton as a POW and the leadership lessons that helped him and his comrades return home with honor.

He served as an Air Force fighter pilot flying 53 combat missions over North Vietnam. In 1967, his jet was shot down and he held as a POW for more than five years at Camp Hanoi Hilton-the same camp in which Senator John McCain was imprisoned.

After the war Colonel Ellis served as an instructor pilot, chief of flight standardization/evaluation, and flying squadron commander. Additionally, he commanded two leadership development organizations before retiring as a Colonel. His combat decorations include two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the POW Medal.

From March 2013-September 2014, College of the Ozarks has and will celebrate and honor Veterans of the Vietnam War to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the conflict. While our Vietnam Veterans did not receive the appreciation and homecoming they deserved during the 1960s-70s, the College has resolved to properly honor and recognize them for their service and sacrifices and to educate the younger generations on the importance of their selfless contributions to our nation. This teach-in is just one of many events the College has planned to honor Vietnam Veterans.