Name: Billy Joe Ellis
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Birth: 20 April 1948 (Johnson City TN)
Home City of Record: Elizabethton TN
Date of Loss: 03 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 153847N 1081013E (AT968317)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0960
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.


SYNOPSIS: On January 3, 1968, SP4 Billy Ellis was on radio watch at landing
zone Leslie when the LZ came under heavy mortar and small arms attack. Other
members of SP4 Ellis' unit stated that he had been hit in the initial
barrage as they went to seek cover. While in a protected position, these
individuals saw an ammunition bunker explode.

After the engagement, no trace of SP4 Ellis could be found. From witness
statements, it was assumed that Ellis had probably crawled into the
ammunition bunker that exploded. However, Ellis was not declared Killed in
Action, because there was sufficient doubt that he was killed. He was
declared Missing in Action, and it is believed that the Vietnamese could
account for him.

Witnesses believe that Ellis was probably killed the day LZ Leslie was
attacked. If Ellis crawled into the ammunition bunker, he almost certainly
did die. But still, doubts remain.

And as thousands of reports pour in relating to Americans missing, prisoner
or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, the probability that many of them are
still alive grows. The question rises, "Where is Billy Ellis?" If alive,
what must he be thinking of us?

Billy Joe Ellis was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant during the
period he was maintained Missing in Action.





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Specialist 4 Billy Joe Ellis, who joined the U.S. Army from Tennessee, served with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. On January 3, 1968, SP4 Ellis was on radio watch at Landing Zone (LZ) Leslie in the vicinity of (GC) AT 968 317 when the LZ came under enemy small arms and mortar fire. SP4 Ellis, stationed near an ammunition bunker, radioed that he was wounded in the initial barrage of fire. The ammunition bunker then exploded. After the attack ended, a search was conducted for SP4 Ellis, but he could not be found. The searchers came to the conclusion that he had sought cover in or near the ammunition bunker and that his remains were not recoverable. After the incident the Army posthumously promoted SP4 Ellis to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). Today, Staff Sergeant Ellis is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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