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CPL Aldwin Ardean “Sparky” Ellis, Jr

CPL Aldwin Ardean “Sparky” Ellis, Jr

Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA
Death 7 Oct 1967 (aged 18)
Quang Nam, Vietnam
Burial Canby, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
Plot New Section, Blk W, Lot 48, Grave D.
Memorial ID 97396775 · View Source
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On October 7, 1967, while on night patrol in central Vietnam, the platoon of PFC Aldwin Ardean "Sparky" Ellis Jr. was attacked by an enemy force. Wounded in the initial assault, Ellis abandoned his cover and ran through hostile fire to take over for a machine gunner who had also been wounded and was about to be overrun. According to the Silver Star Medal award citation, Ellis "placed himself between the wounded machine gunner and the onrushing enemy," killing three of them and wounding several others. He continued to fire until he was killed by small arms fire. This act of valor saved the life of the gunner, but it cost 18 year old Ellis his own life. A total of seven young soldiers from the same platoon died together that night. They were:

1. SP4 Charles David Edwards
2. CPL Aldwin Ardean Ellis Jr
3. PFC Hugh Robert Flemister
4. CPL Michael Grimes
5. PFC Rodney Dean Hill
6. PFC William Albert Jateff
7. CPL Robert Jerry Padgett

Even before his final act of bravery, Ellis had demonstrated exceptional valor.

In July, less than a month after he arrived in Vietnam, Ellis received a Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel in combat. After a short convalescence he returned to combat duty, and in September he won the Bronze Star for heroism.

Under orders from his sergeant, Ellis set out to retrieve some ammunition from a helicopter under fire. At one point, he was pinned down in the open by heavy machine-gun fire, but he still managed to get the ammunition and crawl back to his unit.

Despite his close scrapes, Ellis seemed sure he would make it home alive. In his final letter to his parents, dated Sept. 15th, 1967 the young paratrooper wrote that he had a lot of close calls but, "God was with me" and "there's not anything in hell going to keep me from coming back into the world." A native of Portland, Oregon, Ellis attended Franklin High School and joined the Army in January of 1967. He trained at Fort Lewis, Washington and volunteered for airborne training. Ellis earned one expert and two sharpshooter badges for marksmanship with weapons. He was assigned in Vietnam to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles". When killed he was attached to the Americal Division, which was created in Vietnam. Ellis served as his platoon's radio operator. He was posthumously promoted to Corporal.

Medals and Badges

Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Two Orders of the Purple Heart
Combat Infantryman Badge
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Military Merit Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Expert Badge with bars for Mortar, Rifle and Machine Gun
Parachutist Badge


The name Aldwin A Ellis, Jr. is located on Panel 27E Line 064 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Family Members


Vietnam SS - BSM - PH (Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart)

Gravesite Details If you have information, photos or memories that you would like to contribute, email Juelette Fadness at
  • Maintained by: Juelette Fadness
  • Originally Created by: Charles A. Lewis
  • Added: 19 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 97396775
  • Juelette Fadness
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for CPL Aldwin Ardean “Sparky” Ellis, Jr (15 Dec 1948–7 Oct 1967), Find A Grave Memorial no. 97396775, citing Zion Memorial Park, Canby, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Juelette Fadness (contributor 46555459) .