Ellen Peebles was born in Oconto, Wisconsin in 1957. She was part of a large family and grew up on a dairy farm. She attended Sharp University [College?] on a scholarship, where she majored in business and minored in psychology. Upon graduation, she went to live with her eldest sister in Michigan. In 1981, having seen a newspaper advertisement for careers in law enforcement through the army, she went to see an army recruiter and joined the United States Army as an officer candidate.
Peebles attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in June of 1981. She completed Officer Candidate School and Military Police Officer basic school and, then chose to attend Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, as well as Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Peebles was assigned to the Presidio of San Francisco for her first duty assignment. Her next assignment was to Fort Lewis, Washington, where she met her husband, Bruce Peebles. At the time that they met, Bruce Peebles was a detachment commander at Fort Lewis. They married while assigned to Fort Lewis.
Ellen Peebles then attended an advanced military police course, and was subsequently moved to work in functional area of systems automation, for which she attended training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Both she and her husband were then assigned to Stuttgart, Germany. During that time, the Gulf War began, and both were deployed to Saudi Arabia. Peebles deployed as part of a Logistics Automation System Support Office (LASSO), and was in Saudi Arabia from November of 1990 to May of 1991.
Upon returning from deployment, the unit in Stuttgart was being inactivated, and Peebles was assigned to Heidelberg in a military police capacity rather than in her functional area of systems automation. Peebles then was selected to be the operations S3 officer for the 18th MP brigade in Bosnia.
Soon after the end of that tour of duty, she was deployed to Port au Prince, Haiti. Later, Peebles and her husband were again stationed in Germany. At 20 years of service, Peebles and her husband both retired in 2001.