Skip to comments.Thomas E. Creek, A Marine, A Local Boy, A Real Hero
Posted on 05/27/2007 9:28:18 AM PDT by Maria S
Thomas E. Creek (1950-1969) was a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during February 1969 in Vietnam.
Creek was born on 7 April 1950, in Joplin, Missouri. He grew up in Amarillo, Texas, and attended Forest Hill Elementary School, Horace Mann Jr. High School, and Palo Duro High School.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 16 January 1968. He completed recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, 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 1 June 1968. In July 1968, he was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam. He first saw duty as a rifleman with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, Regimental Landing Team 27, 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 1 November 1968. While serving in the latter capacity, he was killed in action on 13 February 1969, near the Cam Lo resettlement village.
A complete list of medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Meal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, and the Republic of 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.
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
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 13 February 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.
LANCE CORPORAL THOMAS E. CREEK is buried in Llano Cemetery, Amarillo, Texas, and will be honored, along with many other veterans, on Memorial Day, 2007.
Thomas E. Creek "stood and delivered"; he was both courageous and selfless. He saw what needed to be done to save his brothers and did it.
His last words? He saw the grenade, and right before he fell on it, he said, "I've got it, Matt."
I'm more inclined to believe there are more 19 year old Tommy Creeks in Iraq and Afghanistan now than there are 57 year old drug addict hippies who burned their draft cards in 1969.
Mea Culpa! You are right...too bad we’re not hearing more about them!
Amen. There are a lot of untold stories of valor being purposely withheld by the media- just as there were in Vietnam.
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