James L. Ellis

In the name of the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief U. S. Pacific Fleet takes pleasure in awarding the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander James Leonard ELLIS United States Navy for service as set forth in the following CITATION: “For heroism and meritorious achievement in aerial flight as pilot of a jet aircraft while attached to and serving with Light Photographic Squadron SIXTY-THREE DET LIMA embarked in USS HANCOCK (CVA 19) during a reconnaissance mission on 27 February 1966. Commander ELLIS led his flight in an extremely hazardous mission to gather photographic intelligence of a mining complex in North Vietnam. Though presented with an exceedingly difficult low-level navigation problem, necessitated by enemy surface-to-air missile defenses, Commander ELLIS flawlessly led his element to the target. Encountering heavy anti-aircraft fire and low overcast ceilings at his initial run-in point, he descended to 300 feet and resolutely continued his photographic run, obtaining excellent results. Through his outstanding pre-mission planning and superior professional mission execution, Commander ELLIS provided the United States with intelligence of great value. His courageous action was keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.‚Äù