Skip to Content


Explore the rich heritage of the VA Eastern Oklahoma Healthcare System.

Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center

On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, the State of Oklahoma opened its new $500,000 Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Muskogee, Okla. to care for Veterans. During the first year, the hospital’s 165 employees served about 1,500 Veterans.

The state initially leased the Muskogee hospital to the federal government to take care of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas Veterans of The Great War. On March 6, 1925, the federal government took ownership of the 25-bed facility when the operating budget was $484,732.

Six months later, on Sept. 5, 1925, the hospital erected a “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue near the south entrance to recognize Native American Veterans who fought in World War I. The popular and affordable sculpture was mass-produced during the 1920s and 1930s for communities throughout the United States. Our statue recognizes the contributions of Veterans from the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, Cherokee and Creek nations.

In 1930, when President Herbert Hoover created the Veterans Administration, the federal government renamed the hospital “Veterans Administration Hospital, Muskogee, Oklahoma.” On Nov. 30, 2006, we renamed it the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center, making it the first VA medical center named for a Native American.

Jack Cleveland Montgomery (1917-2002) was a U.S. Army officer, a member of the Cherokee nation who received several military decorations for his actions in World War II. He was awarded 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Silver Stars, and the Medal of Honor, which is the United States’ highest award for valor in action against an enemy.

On May 27, 2008, we also renamed our community-based outpatient clinic in Tulsa after Native American Ernest Childers (1918-2005), who was a Muskogee Creek, WWII Veteran, and Medal of Honor recipient. Childers was the first Native American to earn the medal since the Indian Wars of the 19th century. Both Montgomery and Childers graduated from the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in north-central Oklahoma and served in the 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division in Italy. 

Today, we continue our dedication to providing quality health care to more than 52,000 Veterans in eastern Oklahoma at our medical center in Muskogee and 7 outpatient clinics in Muskogee, Tulsa, Idabel, McAlester, and Vinita. 

Learn more about the history of VA

The Soldiers Memorial Hospital in the 1920s

The Soldiers Memorial Hospital in the 1920s is now called the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in the Eastern Oklahoma VA Healthcare System.

Doughboy statue

Since 1924, this “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue has greeted Veterans, staff, and visitors to what is now known as the south entrance of the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center.

Jack Cleveland Montgomery

Jack Cleveland Montgomery (July 23, 1917 to June 11, 2002)

Lt. Ernest Childers shakes hands with General Jacob Devers

Lt. Ernest Childers (left) is congratulated by Gen. Jacob L. Devers after receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor in Italy for wiping out two machine gun nests.