Ernest 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.
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 for service in Italy, graduated from the same school.
In 1937, Childers joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard and was assigned to the 180th Infantry Regiment, 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, 180th Infantry Regiment, 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 birthplace of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Before his death, a middle school was named in his honor, Ernest Childers Middle School which is a part of Broken Arrow Public Schools 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 Childers Out Patient Clinic