b. 07/04/1950 Joplin, Missouri. d. 13/02/1969 Cam Lo, Vietnam.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 13/02/1969 Cam Lo, Vietnam.
Thomas Creek was born on April 7, 1950, in Joplin, Missouri. He grew up in Amarillo, Texas, where he attended Forest Hill Elementary School, Horace Mann Jr. High School, and Palo Duro High School.
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.
Creek was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor — which was presented to his family by Vice President Spiro Agnew on April 20, 1970, at the White House. He is buried in the Llano City Cemetery in Amarillo.
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.
BURIAL LOCATION: LLANO CEMETERY, AMARILLO, TEXAS.
SECTION E LOT 359 SPACE 2
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.