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Lieuenant Colonel Earl "Pete" Ellis

Courtesy of the (Kansas) Pratt Tribune

25 May 2005:

The Pratt B-29 All Veterans Memorial will host a luncheon at the Ellis VFW Building in Pratt to honor the Marines first spy and recognized amphibious warfare prophet, Lieuenant Colonel Earl "Pete" Ellis.

Earl Ellis

DATE OF BIRTH: 12/19/1880
DATE OF DEATH: 05/12/1923

After the First World War, Ellis believed war with Japan was inevitable. He traveled among the Japanese people in the forbidden Carolina Islands and died there under mysterious circumstances.

Ellis was born in Iuka, Kansas, on December 19, 1880, educated in the Pratt school system and joined the Marine Corps at the age of 19 as a Private. On December 6, 1901, he became a Second Lieutenant.

Before World War I, Colonel Ellis was sent out on a special terrain study and intelligence service in the West Indies and at the Guam Naval Station. He served as an Aide-de-Camp to Major General Commandant George Barnett at the Marine Headquarters and then ordered to Quantico, Virginia.

During World War I, Colonel Ellis was ordered to France where he participated in the St. Mihiel (Champagne) offensive, including the attack on and capture of Blanc Mont and in the Mouss-Argonne offensive. Ellis was among those who commenced the march to the Rhine River and crossed the Rhine on December 13, 1918, and into the Coblenz Bridgehead area in Germany.

For his superior planning and courage, Colonel Ellis was awarded the French Croix de Guerro with Gold Star and the decoration of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the president of the French Republic. He was also awarded the U.S. Army Citation Certificate by the commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces and the Victory Metal with numerous citations by the British Government. During his career, he was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States Navy.

Colonel Ellis died at the age of 43 at Parao (Paleu), Carolina Islands on May 12, 1923, and his remains were returned to Greenlawn Cemetery in Pratt for burial. There they remained until November 2004 when they were exhumed and buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Ellis died at the moment when his last and greatest military intelligence task was almost complete. For 15 years he had studied the development of the Japanese power in the Orient. He had come to foresee the coming Japanese aggression and was not shy about expressing them. This led to speculation that, perhaps, this was the reason he died so mysteriously.

Today a bronze plaque in recognition of his contribution to military science is displayed at Earl Ellis Hall in Quantico, Virginia Marine Base. The sign in front of the Pratt VFW building also bears his name.

This Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, the addition of a special memorial in the B-29 All Veteran Memorial site has been added to keep alive Colonel Ellis's memory in the Pratt area. By the Pentagon's request the inspector/instructor staff from Marine Corps Reserve Center in Wichita will, provide a military honor service at the memorial.

As time passed, few people in Pratt County remembered the boy who was born here and became a Marine Corps legend. Ellis is now considered to be a miliary genius, the Marines' first spy and a recognized amphibious warfare prophet who in the 1920's wrote a 30,000 word report that predicted the war with Japan, Pearl Harbor, aircraft carriers and the airplanes that could carry bombs and fly off them.

This year, with the help of the Pentagon and many interested parties, Colonel Ellis' achievements are again recognized and the citizen's of Pratt County have another "giant" to be remembered.