U.S. Marine Corps


Earl H. "Pete" Ellis was a Marine Corps officer who was an early proponent of amphibious warfare and who died while on an intelligence mission in the Pacific in the early 1920s.

Ballendorf, Dirk Anthony.

1. "Earl Hancock Ellis: The Man and His Mission." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 109, no. 11 (Nov. 1983): 53-60.

2. And Merrill L. Bartlett. Pete Ellis: An Amphibious Warfare Prophet, 1880-1923. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1996.

Cowley, MHQ Review, Summer 1997, notes that the authors follow Ellis' last months "in painful detail," as he deteriorates and dies in Micronesia. His mission "clearly had the approval of his superiors," but just as clearly "he was the wrong man" for the job. Although Ellis is best known for his mysterious death, the authors point to the importance of his 1921 study that anticipated war with Japan and advocated combined operations with the Navy.

For Bates, NIPQ 14.1, Ballendorf and Bartlett "have put together the best yet explanation of what actually happened" during Ellis' trip through Micronesia and what led up to it. The authors have produced "a good book" about the intelligence aspects of Ellis' life. However, the book is not just about intelligence, but, rather, details Ellis' influence on the concept of the Marine Corps as an expeditionary force.

Montross, Lynn. "The Mystery of Pete Ellis." Marine Corps Gazette 38 (Jul. 1954): 30-33.

Noble, Dennis L. "Operations in Another Time: A US Naval Intelligence Mission to China in the 1930s." Studies in Intelligence 50, no. 2 (2006): 27-32.

The focus here is the intelligence operation undertaken from 1935 to 1936 by Maj. (later, Maj. Gen.) William A. Worton, USMC. "His mission was to recruit and run agents from Shanghai into Japan" for ONI. Commander Ellis M. Zacharias was his immediate superior and all orders were verbal. He traveled to China under cover "as a disgruntled officer leaving the Corps to establish a business in the International Settlement in Shanghai."

Pierce, P.N.. "The Unsolved Mystery of Pete Ellis." Marine Corps Gazette 46 (Feb. 1962): 34-40.

Reber, John J. "Pete Ellis: Amphibious Warfare Prophet." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 103, no. 11 (Nov. 1977): 53-64.

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