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Oral History interview of William Ellis. Interview conducted by Ellis, Erik at Veteran's Home.


0:20 Born in Deland, Florida. Grew up in Crescent City FL; 0:40 Mother and Father both educators. One brother, in Army Reserves; 1:01 Enlisted in Army at 17, completed Split Option Program; 1:24 History of service in family; Grandfather, West Point Captain; 2:16 Basic Training and AIT, describes feelings about toughness of Basic; 3:56 Training is very dull, consists of class. Much like school; 4:40 Not difficult to become a soldier, nothing tying him down; 5:17 Training required to deploy overseas to Iraq; 6:26 Explained his actual movement overseas from one country to another; 7:17 Got to experience moving throughout Baghdad; 8:14 Encountered dangers during his times with the convoys; 9:10 Mind of being subjected to dangerous situations; 9:39 Held close camaraderie with his fellow soldiers; 11:22 Keeping in touch was difficult, writing letters was easy but email was not; 13:07 Living situations steadily improved during 2004-2005; 13:40 Days were filled with finding distractions, gym, movies, reading; 15:20 Generally worked a 12 hour day, from 6am to 6-7pm; 16:10 Coming home is complicated, paperwork, equipment, and flights; 17:31 Post war time adjustment wasn't terrible, had trouble with speeding; 18:31 Knew nearly nothing about Iraq before going over; 19:42 Had interactions with Local Nationals, "Hadji Shop" owners; 19:50 Reactions of LN's kind, respectful, hospitable. Trouble with lnsha AIIah; 20:56 Impressions of Iraq decimated infrastructure, waste disposal was appalling; 22:41 Conspiracy theories about why were in Iraq was unsettling; 24:02 Iraq is more developed compared to other Middle Eastern Countries; 24:48 Iraq is geographically diverse, there are both arid and fertile regions; 25:44 Iraqi's are respectful people, always shake your hand and offer cigarette; 27:59 Going to the bathroom in Iraq, its nothing more than a hole in the floor; 28:26 lnsha AIIah governs Iraqi's ideas of urgency, not used to it as an American; 29:38 Was more cynical and humorous after his deployment; 30:23 Glad to be a part of Iraq and a part of history, interesting experience; 31:00 Eye opening experience that remove "American Filter" of world view.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Deland (Fla.)





Home State


War or Conflict

Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan; Operation Iraqi Freedom



Begin/End date of Service - 1st


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Army

Unit of Service

2nd Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Division

Location of Service

Baghdad (Iraq)

Highest Rank

Staff Sergeant; SSG

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury







See video for details.


Not applicable

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Ellis, Erik

Interview Date


Location of Interview

Veteran's Home.


Ellis, William J.; Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, 2001-present -- Personal Narratives; United States. Army

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES; University of Central Florida


Ellis, Erik

Length of Interview

32 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida


Video; MovingImage


All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type