After serving as an instructor pilot at Laughlin AFB, Texas, Lt Ellis began training in the F-105 Thunderchief and was assigned to the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, in 1967.While flying his 44th combat mission over North Vietnam, Captain Ellis was shot down on December 17, 1967, and was taken as a Prisoner of War.
After spending 1,914 days in captivity, he
was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973.After repatriation, Ellis was assigned to the staff of the Armament Development and Test Center at Eglin AFB, Florida.He
next completed Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB
, Alabama, before being assigned to the Air Force Academy
.In June 1979, he
transferred to Sheppard AFB, Texas, where he
commanded the 80th Student Squadron and later the 88th Flying Training Squadron.He completed Air War College in June 1982, and then served as deputy commander for operations of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance AFB, Oklahoma.Ellis was then assigned as commander of the 47th Air Base Group at Laughlin AFB.In November 1984, he took over command of the 47th Flying Training Wing, and then served as inspector general at Headquarters Air Training Command at Randolph AFB, Texas.In December 1986 he became deputy chief of staff for operations and readiness at Randolph.He
became commandant of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, in October 1988.In May 1990, General Ellis was assigned as deputy commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Fifth Allied Tactical Air Force at Vicenza, Italy.He retired from the Air Force on October 1, 1992.General Ellis is a command pilot with over 3,700 flying hours in the T-37, T-38 Talon, T-41 Mescalero, and F-105 Thunderchief aircraft.