An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Military spouse honored during Women's History Month

  • Published
  • By Lt Col Noemi Antedomenico
  • Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central)

On 28 March 2023, Mrs. Barbara Hope Ellis visited 9th Air Force and 20th Fighter Wing leadership during Women’s History Month.  She is the widow of Major General Billy J. Ellis who, after 30 years in the Air Force, retired in 1981 from Shaw AFB as Vice Commander of 9th Air Force.  

During the honorary women’s luncheon at Shaw’s Tee Top Cafe, Barbara shared personal anecdotes of her life as a military spouse and mother to their 8 children to inspire the spouses and women leaders on base who attended the event.  She spoke about how her faith in God was what she relied upon in the most demanding of times.  Her adult daughter once asked how she was able to do it.  She replied, “One day at a time and praying.” Adding, “sometimes the prayer is simply, “Help!”

As Barbara cared for and provided stability to their 8 children, she also provided the love and support for her combat pilot husband as he was given more responsibility in serving our country. When asked by a young wife how she could be a good military wife, Barbara said, “Be the best wife you can be to your husband.” Being the best military wife involves being a good wife period. She succeeded in her role and it paid off for the Air Force!

She shared that Billy was deployed to Korea when they were expecting their first child. He sent money to her mother to purchase yellow roses to fill her hospital room when she delivered.  Because their daughter, Elaine, arrived one month early, the money did not arrive until after they were home from the hospital. For many years, he kept a sign over his mirror to remind him, “The best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother.” He did just that.

The love of this family touched many lives across their assignments including their local St. Anne-St. Jude church family in Sumter, SC. Barbara is a true patriot of our Nation, and resides at Covenant Place in Sumter, SC.