Captain Thomas B. "Tex" Ellison, USN
Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale
Senior Flight Instructor
Capt. Thomas B. “Tex” Ellison was the uncle of former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle. Ellison was born July 28, 1914 in Nixon, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1938 with a BBA. Tex joined the U.S. Navy as an aviator and served his country for 32 years before retiring in 1970. He married Virginia “Boots” Griffitts in 1942 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They had three children. Virginia passed away in 1995. Tex was remarried in January of 2002 to Christine Gray.
Ellison participated in one of the first attacks on Tuglai harbor, the first raid on Salamaua and Lea and the first raids on the Gilberts and Marshalls. In addition, he was engaged in anti-submarine patrol in the Atlantic before Dec. 7, 1941. He served on the USS Yorktown and at NAS Miami. In 1942, Ellison had just returned from combat in the Battle of the Coral Sea Pacific theater when he was commissioned as a Flight Instructor at the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale.
At NASFL an Aviator's course was completed in about 8 to 12 weeks. Ellison's training syllabus included familiarizing the cadets with the specialized Avenger aircraft, as well as flight experience with landings and take-offs, expanding to include bombing flights, navigation flights over the water, formation flying, gunnery runs on a towed sleeve, and night flying.
While at NASFL, Tex instructed many students including former President George H.W. Bush. Ellison then returned with “Squadron Able” to Japan, for further combat. All planes returned safely. Ellison was the recipient of numerous awards, medals and honors including the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, five Air Medals and the Meritorious Service Medal for his work with NATO. All his medals and four Aviator Flight log-books comprising his military career from 1939 to the late 1960's are on display at our Museum. Capt Ellison passed away at 91 years old on November 30th, 2005 in Pensacola, Florida. He was one of America's finest.