Deployed to Italy at the beginning of the U.S. entry into WWII, he earned a Congressional Medal of Honor for single-handedly attacking two machine gun nests, killing two snipers and capturing an artillery observer, with a broken foot. Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Childers accomplished this task by throwing rocks into the nests, which were mistaken for grenades.
He was the first Native American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Western Frontier wars of the 19th century.
Lieutenant Colonel Childers remained in the U.S. Army until 1965, teaching jungle training and winter training.
He died at the age of 87, on March 17, 2005, and rests at the Floral Haven Memorial Gardens in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
The Ernest Childers Middle School was named in his honor, and, until his death, Lieutenant Colonel Childers attended yearbook signings.