A Soldier's Story: Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Childers

Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Childers was born on February 1, 1918, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  A graduate of the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School (he was Muscogee), he enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard and was assigned to the 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division.

Deployed to Italy at the beginning of the U.S. entry into World War II, 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 Ernest 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.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

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