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First Name: Ernest

Last Name: Childers

Birthplace: Broken Arrow, OK, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: OK
Middle Name: L.

Date of Birth: 01 February 1918

Date of Death: 17 March 2005

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served: 1937-1966
Ernest L. Childers

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Ernest L. Childers
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Lieutenant Colonel Ernest L. Childers (1 February 1918 - 17 March 2005) was a U.S. Army officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions in World War II.

Ernest L. Childers was born in Broken Arrow, OK, on 1 February 1918. A Muscogee (Creek) Indian, he graduated from the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in north-central OK. Coincidentally, Jack C. Montgomery, who also earned the Medal of Honor in World War II, graduated from the same school.

In 1937, Childers joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard and was assigned to the 45th Infantry Division. After the U.S. entry into World War II, he was sent to Europe and by 22 September 1943, he was a Second Lieutenant serving with the 45th Infantry Division in Italy. On that day at Oliveto, Italy, he single-handedly killed two enemy snipers, attacked two machine gun nests, and captured an artillery observer. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was the first Native American to earn the Medal since the Indian Wars of the 19th century.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 45th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Oliveto, Italy, 22 September 1943.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action on 22 September 1943, at Oliveto, Italy. Although 2d Lt. Childers previously had just suffered a fractured instep he, with 8 enlisted men, advanced up a hill toward enemy machinegun nests. The group advanced to a rock wall overlooking a cornfield and 2d Lt. Childers ordered a base of fire laid across the field so that he could advance. When he was fired upon by 2 enemy snipers from a nearby house he killed both of them. He moved behind the machinegun nests and killed all occupants of the nearer one. He continued toward the second one and threw rocks into it. When the 2 occupants of the nest raised up, he shot 1. The other was killed by 1 of the 8 enlisted men. 2d Lt. Childers continued his advance toward a house farther up the hill and single-handedly captured an enemy mortar observer. The exceptional leadership, initiative, calmness under fire, and conspicuous gallantry displayed by 2d Lt. Childers were an inspiration to his men.

Childers reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring from the Army.


• Before his death, a middle school was named in his honor, Ernest Childers Middle School which is a Broken Arrow Public School and services grades 6th through 8th grade.

• The Veteran's Administration Medical Center Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa, OK, is named in his honor, the Ernest Childer's Out Patient Clinic.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Colonel Ernest L. Childers died at age 87 and is buried at Floral Haven Memorial Gardens in his birth place of Broken Arrow, OK. His grave is located in the Veterans Field of Honor.

Honoree ID: 1330   Created by: MHOH




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