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Former POW Urges Students to Lead with Honor

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Retired Air Force Colonel Lee Ellis was held for five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. He appeared on KOLR10 News Daybreak Thursday to talk about his work now to teach leadership to students and business executives. This week, Ellis spoke to college students in the area about his time as a POW and leadership skills he took away from the experience.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Retired Air Force Colonel Lee Ellis was held for five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.   He appeared on KOLR10 News Daybreak Thursday to talk about his work now to teach leadership to students and business executives. 

This week, Ellis spoke to college students in the area about his time as a POW and leadership skills he took away from the experience.

Colonel Ellis is in the Ozarks as a convocation speaker at College of the Ozarks this week.  He is talking to students about leadership, leading with honor and how to withdraw, engage or dominate in stressful situations.

"When you withdraw or dominate, those are fear and anger emotions. They don't get you anywhere," Ellis says. "When you have the courage to face a problem and engage this issue and work through it, it's amazing what you can get done.  That's what we need our leaders in Washington to do - have the courage to engage and not try to dominate.

From March 2013-September 2014, College of the Ozarks is honoring Veterans of the Vietnam War to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the conflict.

As part of his discussion with students, Colonel Ellis shared his experience at the infamous Camp Hanoi Hilton as a POW. 

He served as an Air Force fighter pilot flying 53 combat missions over North Vietnam. In 1967, his jet was shot down and he held as a POW for more than five years at Camp Hanoi Hilton-the same camp in which Senator John McCain was imprisoned.

After the war Colonel Ellis served as an instructor pilot, chief of flight standardization/evaluation, and flying squadron commander. Additionally, he commanded two leadership development organizations before retiring as a Colonel. His combat decorations include two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the POW Medal.


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