Thomas E. Creek
Thomas E. Creek
Thomas E. Creek, Medal of Honor recipient
|Born||April 7, 1950|
Joplin, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||February 13, 1969 (aged 18)|
Cam Lo, South Vietnam
|Place of burial|
Llano City Cemetery, Amarillo, Texas, U.S.
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1968–1969|
|Unit||3rd Battalion 9th Marines|
|Battles/wars||Vietnam War †|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Creek enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on January 16, 1968. He completed recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, in March 1968. He received individual combat training with Company A, 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, at Camp Pendleton, California, in April, and basic infantry training with Rifle Training Company, Basic Infantry Training Battalion, 2nd Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Pendleton, in May 1968. He was promoted to private first class on June 1, 1968.
In July 1968, he was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. He first saw duty as a rifleman with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, 1st Marine Division. In September 1968, he was assigned duty as fire team leader with Company I, 3rd Battalion 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division and was promoted to lance corporal on November 1, 1968.
While serving as fire team leader, he was killed in action on February 13, 1969, near the Cam Lo resettlement village. Creek's squad was escorting a convoy of trucks bringing supplies to Vandegrift Combat Base when it was ambushed. While under enemy mortar fire, Creek moved to a position to attack the hidden enemy, engaging in a fire fight. While moving to a better position, he was shot in the neck and fell into a gully near fellow Marines who had taken cover; a grenade landed between Creek and the other Marines. Creek rolled on top of the grenade and took the full force of the blast, saving the lives of those around him. His men continued the fight, defeated the enemy force and the convoy was able to continue.
He is buried in the Llano City Cemetery in Amarillo.
Awards and honors
Creek's medals include:
|Medal of Honor||Purple Heart|
|National Defense Service Medal||Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 service stars||Vietnam Campaign Medal|
- In 2005, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Amarillo, Texas was renamed as the Thomas E. Creek Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Medal of Honor citation
LANCE CORPORAL THOMAS E. CREEK
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
- For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with Company I, Third Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On February 13, 1969, Lance Corporal Creek's squad was providing security for a convoy moving to resupply the Vandegrift Combat Base when an enemy command detonated mine destroyed one of the vehicles and halted the convoy near the Cam Lo Resettlement Village. Almost immediately, the Marines came under a heavy volume of hostile mortar fire followed by intense small arms fire from a well-concealed North Vietnamese Army force. When his squad rapidly deployed to engage the enemy, Lance Corporal Creek quickly moved to a fighting position and aggressively engaged in the fire fight. Observing a position from which he could more effectively deliver fire against the hostile force, he completely disregarded his own safety as he fearlessly dashed across the fire-swept terrain and was seriously wounded by enemy fire. At the same time, a North Vietnamese fragmentation grenade was thrown into the gully where he had fallen, landing between him and several companions. Fully realizing the inevitable results of his action, Lance Corporal Creek valiantly rolled on the grenade and absorbed the full force of the explosion with his own body, thereby saving the lives of five of his fellow Marines. As a result of his heroic action, his men were inspired to such aggressive action that the North Vietnamese were defeated and the convoy was able to continue its vital mission. Lance Corporal Creek's indomitable courage, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
/S/ RICHARD M. NIXON
- Smith, Charles (1988). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: High Mobility and Standdown 1969. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 363. ISBN 978-1494287627.
- "Thomas Elbert Creek, LCPL, Marine Corps". VirtualWall.org. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
- "Who was Thomas Creek?". Amarillo VA Health Care, United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
- "Thomas E. Creek Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center". Congressional Record. The United States House of Representative. September 13, 2004. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
- "MMedal of Honor citation". Marines Awarded the Medal of Honor. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20.
- "Lance Corporal Thomas E. Creek, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
- "Medal of Honor — LCPL Thomas E. Creek (Medal of Honor citation)". Marines Awarded the Medal of Honor. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20.
- Leatherwood, Art. "Creek, Thomas E." Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 29 January 2009.