Jan 2019: Robert Lee Ellis
US Army, Korea, 1948-1952
Born on January 20, 1932, Bob Ellis joined the U.S. Army in March of 1948 at the age of 16. After completing basic training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, he spent two years at Schofield Barrack on Oahu, Hawaii. He arrived in Korea as part of the 5th Regimental Combat Team· on August 1, 1950, and was wounded on December 13 of that year. While in the hospital in Japan, he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. There was just one problem – the officer presenting the medals at the hospital ran out before he got to Bob! After his initial hospital stay in Japan, he was sent back to the States and for the next two years was in and out of 10 different hospitals. Although he still hadn’t received his Purple Heart, his focus was on healing and recovery. He was honorably discharged on March 15, 1959 without ever receiving his Purple Heart.
Sometime in the 1970’s Bob received a call from the Department of Defense asking him to come to Chicago for the presentation of his Purple Heart and other medals. Unfortunately, the timing was poor; and he was unable to attend the ceremony. As the years wore on, the Veterans Administration became involved but still no medal was forthcoming. During a conversation with the late Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, Bob mentioned that he would really like to receive his medals. Thanks to Senator Thompson, Bob finally received his medals during a ceremony in Munford City Park in 1997. For his service to our country, Bob was belatedly presented the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, and Good Conduct Medal. He had received the United Nations Service Medal, Korea Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal prior to his discharge in 1959.
After the Army, Bob enjoyed a long career as a local truck driver for Strickland Transportation. He married Fay Cole Ellis in 1962, and they have five children. They moved to Tipton County in 1969. He and Fay are members of River of Life Assembly of God Church, where Bob has served on the Elder Board and is currently Elder Emeritus.
Bob enjoys fishing and wood-working but has had to slow down using saws because of eye problems. One thing that has never changed is his wonderful sense of humor. You can always expect a quick comeback from the “ole war Vet” as he is lovingly called by some. Bob is a member of the Disabled American Veterans and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He was nominated for Veteran of the Month by his good friend Rosemary Mccane.