Oklahoma Hero Honored

By National Report    
Friday, 26 May 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) along with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) recently honored the proud memory of Oklahoma hero and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Ernest Childers by introducing legislation (S. 2800) to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the ‘Ernest Childers Department of Veteran Affairs Outpatient Clinic.’

Senator Inhofe said, “Lieutenant Colonel Childers was a brave Oklahoma hero that made his state and country very proud.  Today we honor the life of Ernest Childers and the selfless sacrifice he made on behalf of this nation as a hero on the battlefield.  Today’s is an appropriate honor for a man of such distinguished character.”

Congressman Sullivan said, "Lieutenant Colonel Childers’s contributions to our American armed forces will be forever remembered by his fellow Creek Indians and by all Oklahomans.  We were honored to have him grace us with his model character, defend us with his bravery, and leave us all with an example of a life well-lived."

Ernest Childers was born in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma on February 1st, 1918 as the third of five children.  Childers enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in 1937 while attending the Chilocco Indian School in north-central Oklahoma.  He then went to Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma for basic training before being deployed to Africa in World War II.  On September 22nd, 1943, despite a broken instep that forced him to crawl, 2nd Lieutenant Childers advanced against enemy machine gun nests in Oliveto, Italy, killing two snipers and capturing an enemy mortar observer in the process.  His actions were instrumental in helping the Americans win the Battle of Oliveto and won him the Congressional Medal of Honor.  He continued his career in the Army earning several other military awards including the Combat Infantry Badge, Europe and Africa Campaign Medals, The Purple Heart, The Bronze Star, and the Oklahoma Distinguished Service Cross.  He retired from the Army in August of 1965 as a Lieutenant Colonel in Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry Division.

Ernest Childers passed away on March 17th, 2005 and was Oklahoma’s last Congressional Medal of Honor winner still living in the state.  He was an honored guest of many Presidential Inaugurations and as a Creek Indian, was named Oklahoma’s Most Outstanding Indian by the Tulsa Chapter of the Council of American Indians in 1966.

Senator Inhofe’s legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Rep Sullivan has introduced the companion language (HR. 4744) in the House.

Last Updated ( Friday, 26 May 2006 )