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Our Weapons are our Voices and our Votes

Charles and Rose Ellis of Wisconsin Rapids had 14 children. There were 26 years between the oldest and the youngest. Nine brothers (my dad and uncles) actively served in the United States military. Two of the Ellis brothers were killed while on active duty. First Lieutenant Charles Ellis and Lieutenant (jg) Jerome Ellis.

 

Five of the brothers fought in World War II. My dad, Captain Don Ellis, was a 24-year-old P-47 fighter pilot when he was shot down on October 4, 1944 while flying a mission. He was badly wounded and taken prisoner. When he was liberated at the end of the war, he set out to meet up with his older brother with the help of the Red Cross. He learned that he had been killed in action. The four younger brothers served years later during peacetime.

 

This Memorial Day we remember all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and their loved ones with gratitude. We commit to being Americans worthy of their sacrifice.

 

First Lieutenant Charles (Chug) Ellis was killed in action in Germany on November 30, 1944, while serving with an armored division. He was commander of a light tank that turned over in a crater beside the road killing him and his gunner.

An eyewitness account of Charles Ellis’ death was captured in the book Tanks in a Mine Field by John “Mike” Kunnen: “In an attempt to flank the village, Lt. Ellis’ tank slid into a bomb crater with four feet of water and flipped over. Lt Ellis was crushed to death attempting to jump clear. The gunner Arnold Lien drowned while Sgt. Oberdan Arizzi tried to talk driver Stewart and bow gunner Hullet out through the escape hatch on the bottom of the tank. Both got out.”


The citation accompanying his Bronze Star award reads as follows: ... For heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy November 27, 1944. Lt Ellis led his platoon in support of infantrymen in an attack on a strongly held town. Advancing in the face of bitter enemy resistance, he led his tanks forward until the exceedingly difficult terrain made it impossible for the platoon to continue its advance. With utter disregard to his personal safety, he took his tank forward in an effort to provide the infantry with proper support. His example of unselfish courage was an inspiration to all who saw him.

Charles Ellis was 30 years old and left behind a young wife. He is buried in Belgium.

Lieutenant (jg) Jerome (Jerry) Ellis was killed on a routine training mission on July 12, 1957. He was assigned to Attack Squadron VA-216, the Black Diamonds, flying out of Moffett Field, California. He crashed in the rugged Sierra foothills while piloting an AD-7 Skyraider, a propellor-driven attack plane .  The cause of the crash has never been confirmed. Jerry’s burned body was found in the cockpit of the plane which had exploded.

Jerry had earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Marquette University and entered the Navy for officer training after graduation. I was only 5 years old when my dad received the call informing him of his younger brother’s death. I can still picture him sitting in silence in his study absorbing his family’s tragic loss.

 

Jerry Ellis was 26 years old and left behind a young wife and 5-month-old daughter.

The battle for freedom rages on. Today, the enemy comes from within. Liberal orthodoxy will fundamentally change our country and destroy our way of life if we allow it. There is only one response worthy of all those who sacrificed everything for us. We must defeat the enemies of freedom. Our weapons are our voices and our votes. The path forward is clear. It’s time to make America great again.

Wishing everyone a meaningful Memorial Day!

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