FEBRUARY 1, 1918


Born in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, attended Chilocco Indian Agricultural School with Jack C. Montgomery (see February 22) before joining the Oklahoma Army National Guard in 1937 as a 2nd Lieutenant.  On September 22, 1943, in Oliveto, Italy, Childers, despite fracturing his instep, led an advance up a hill toward enemy machinegun nests.  At a rock wall, Childers ordered a base of fire across the field so that he could advance.  He killed 2 enemy snipers, moved behind and killed both occupants of one machinegun nest, and threw rocks into the second causing its 2 occupants to raise up.  He then shot 1 and his team killed the other.  From there, Childers continued up the hill and, single-handed, captured an enemy mortar observer.  For his actions, Childers was awarded the Medal of Honor—the first awarded to a Native American since the Indian Wars.  Childers remained in the Army after the war retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He died on March 17, 2005, and is buried in Broken Arrow.

Sources:  “Childers, Ernest,” Medal of Honor Recipients, World War II (A-F). Retrieved 12/11/2019, http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/wwII-a-f.html
Photo:  War Department, 4/12/1944.   Public Domain.

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