LtCol Ernest Childers, Medal of Honor

Is your surname Childers?

Research the Childers family

LtCol Ernest Childers, Medal of Honor's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Ernest L Childers

Birthdate: (87)
Birthplace: Broken Arrow, OK, USA
Death: March 17, 2005 (87)
Place of Burial: Tulsa, OK, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of nn Childers
Husband of Yolanda L Childers
Brother of Ken

Managed by: Shirley Marie Caulk
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About LtCol Ernest Childers, Medal of Honor

Ernest Childers was born Feb. 1, 1918, in Broken Arrow, Okla., and raised on a farm that was part of his father's original Creek tribal allotment. He was the third of five sons and the best shot, having been taught by his father, a Creek Nation lawyer and a great hunter. After his father died, he was responsible for feeding the family during the Depression years. His mother gave him one .22-caliber cartridge every day to kill a rabbit for dinner. "I got to be a very good aim," he told a Tulsa reporter in 2002. "Because if I missed, we didn't eat." He graduated from the Chilocco (Okla.) Indian School, where he boxed and learned mechanics. He joined the Oklahoma National Guard in 1937 to earn extra money, and his unit was activated during World War II. Remaining in the Army after the war, he later taught jungle training in Panama and winter training in Alaska before retiring in 1965 as a lieutenant colonel. A brief stint with the Job Corps program in Washington ended after he suffered a heart attack


Find A Grave Memorial# 10632724

Ernest Childers (1918–2005), Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army during World War II and Ernest L. Childers (February 1, 1918 – March 17, 2005) was a United States Army officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his valorous actions in World War II. He was the first Native American to be awarded a Medal of Honor during that war


Childers was born in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, on February 1, 1918. A Muscogee (Creek) Indian, he graduated from the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in north-central Oklahoma. 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 September 22, 1943, he was a second lieutenant serving with 45th Infantry Division in Italy. On that day, at Oliveto, 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 seven months later, on April 8, 1944. He was the first Native American to earn the medal since the Indian Wars of the 19th century.

Childers reached the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring from the Army. He died at age 87 and was buried at Floral Haven Memorial Gardens in his birth place of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

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 Oklahoma is named in his honor, the Ernest Childer's Out Patient Clinic

Medal of Honor citation

Childers' official Medal of Honor citation reads:

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-handed, 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.

view all

LtCol Ernest Childers, Medal of Honor's Timeline

February 1, 1918
Broken Arrow, OK, USA
March 17, 2005
Age 87
Tulsa, OK, USA