Ellis Duncan Edwards

Inducted 2021

Major General Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Public Service Award

Doug Dollar Award Recipient

Ellis Duncan Edwards

Captain Ellis D. Edwards was born 15 July 1947 in Oklahoma City. A 1966 graduate of Harding High School and a 1970 graduate of University of Oklahoma Army ROTC program, and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry Branch. Edwards volunteered for duty in Vietnam and after completing Infantry Officer Basic and Airborne School, he studied Vietnamese at the Defense Language School.

In 1971, Edwards began as an Advisor with Mobile Advisory Team #43. His team advised and supported, as well as lived with the 305th Regional Force Battalion headquarters near Cu Chi, in Hau Nghia Province. In addition to training and combat missions with the 305th, Edwards aided the nearby Vietnamese and Cambodian refugee camp at Tan-Thong by raising $4,000 for the construction of a school. Edwards made friends and would not forget them when he left in March 1972.

Upon return to Oklahoma, he worked for R.J. Edwards, Inc. as a public finance representative and later served as its President. He joined the Army Reserve Special Forces Group, to continue his military service where he graduated from Ranger and Special Forces schools. Edwards’ medals include the Bronze Star.

In late March 1975, South Vietnam was collapsing and Edwards, as a civilian, pursued rescue efforts for his Vietnamese allies. After a dangerous trip to his old province, good fortune held and he was allowed on one of the last three C-130s leaving Vietnam to bring the 64 he rescued and another 100 who traveled with his group.

Edwards, family, and friends became advocates for Vietnamese students and professionals visiting Oklahoma. Since 1975, Edwards sponsored more than 80 Vietnamese and assisted in sponsoring another 350. In 1985, he wrote an adventure novel, Operation Golden Buddha, which captured some of his Vietnam experiences. In 1986 he was elected Oklahoma State Treasurer and served until 1990.

Captain Edwards is a worthy recipient of the Major General Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Public Service Award for exemplary public and local community service, going beyond in support of Oklahomans, veterans, and community.