The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC William Ellis Jr., who died in the service of his country on June 24th, 1966 in Pleiku Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Unknown - Body Not Recovered. At the time of his death William was 19 years of age. He was from Summerville, South Carolina. William is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 08E, Line 84.
The decorations earned by PFC William Ellis Jr. include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
William's company was on a support operation in Pleiku Province to assist in the withdrawal of a reconnaissance platoon on June 24, 1966. The Recon platoon had been engaged with the enemy.
As Alpha Company moved from their landing zone to the vicinity of the recon platoon, William saw a wounded soldier and returned to the LZ to get help. William then disappeared. Friendly forces evacuated the area, however, William was not seen again. The man William was trying to help was removed with the group during withdrawal.
Searches were conducted for three or four days and into July with no trace of William. He was classified as Missing In Action.
William was officially declated dead on 10/31/1977
(Following Submitted by Bill Bell)
HE RETURNED TO THE LANDING ZONE TO GET MEDICAL AID, AND ENROUTE WAS OBSERVED REMOVING HIS FIELD GEAR SO THAT HE COULD MOVE FASTER. SHORTLY AFTER PFC ELLIS WAS LAST OBSERVED, FRIENDLY FORCES EVACUATED THE AREA AND PFC ELLIS WAS NOT SEEN AGAIN. FOLLOW-UP SEARCHES OF THE AREA ON 26, 27, 28 JUNE AND 8 JULY FAILED TO YIELD ANY TRACE OF PFC ELLIS. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT HE WAS KILLED OR WOUNDED. THE TWO PARTY JOINT MILITARY COMMISSION (TPJMC) WAS GIVEN DETAILS OF THIS CASE.
ON 14 JAN 93, A JOINT US/SRV INVESTIGATION TEAM (IE5) INTERVIEWED TWO WITNESSES IN DUC CO DISTRICT, GIA LAI PROVINCE, FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING CASE 0372. IN THE SUMMER OF 1966 OR 1967, THESE TWO FORMER VILLAGE MILITIA MEMBERS UNCOVERED THE BODY OF WHAT THEY BELIEVED TO BE A U.S. SOLDIER. THEY CLAIMED TO HAVE LEFT THE BODY AT THE SITE WITHOUT REBURYING IT. NEITHER OF THE WITNESSES COULD LEAD THE JOINT TEAM TO THE SITE.
THOUGH CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED MAY BE CONSIDERED SIMILAR TO CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CASE, THERE IS NO POSITIVE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE TESTIMONY AND CASE 0372. RECOMMEND THAT THIS CASE BE REINVESTIGATED WHEN AND IF KEY WITNESSES ARE LOCATED. NO REMAINS WERE RECOVERED IN THIS CASE.