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Former POW visits Dyess, provides leadership insight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Lee Ellis, a former Vietnam War pilot and prisoner of war, visited Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Nov. 6, 2018.

During his visit, Ellis spoke with the base’s personnel in a leadership and team assessment workshop, and held a leadership forum.

“It’s great to be here,” said Ellis. “I’ve always known about Dyess from my many touch and goes when I was stationed at Randolph Air Force Base. Your mission here, right now, is so inclusive of what’s going on in the Air Force and it’s huge. I want to thank you all for what you are doing and thank you for your commitment.”

Throughout the leadership and team assessment workshop, Ellis helped both 7th Bomb Wing and 317th Airlift Wing commanders learn what kind of leaders they are, and understand their strengths and weaknesses. It also allowed them to grasp a better understanding of how to lead their diverse Airmen who learn and grow by different means.

“This was great for us, especially as leaders, to receive an in-depth understanding of our leadership traits to help us grow and take care of our Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Dugger, 7th Bomb Wing command chief. “Listening to and interacting with Col. Ellis led me to have a greater sense of pride for my service after I learned about the adversity he endured during his time in service. He has truly had an amazing impact on our Air Force.”

After the workshop, Ellis spoke with Airmen at the base theater about his life as a POW in Vietnam. He explained the hardships his team had gone through, and also how they were able to overcome their battles during those hardships.

Ellis flew 53 combat missions over North Vietnam before he was shot down and held as a POW for approximately five years.       

“People watch you to see how you get through your battles,” said Ellis. “Where’s your courage, character and commitment? Are you willing to pay the price to do your duty?”