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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Creek

Birthplace: Joplin, MO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Elbert

Date of Birth: 07 April 1950

Date of Death: 13 February 1969

Rank: Lance Corporal

Years Served: 1968-1969
Thomas Elbert Creek

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Thomas Elbert Creek
Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Thomas Elbert Creek (7 April 1950 - 13 February 1969) was a U.S. Marine Lance Corporal who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during February 1969 in Vietnam.

Creek was born on 7 April 1950, in Joplin, MO. He grew up in Amarillo, TX, where he attended Forest Hill Elementary School, Horace Mann Jr. High School, and Palo Duro High School.

Creek enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 16 January 1968. He completed recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA, in March 1968. He received individual combat training with Company A, 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, at Camp Pendleton, CA, 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 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 1 November 1968.

While serving as fire team leader on 13 February 1969, near the Cam Lo resettlement village, Creek's squad was escorting a convoy of trucks bringing supplies to Vandegrift Command 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. For his heroic action and self-sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


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's Medal of Honor was presented to his family by Vice President Spiro Agnew in a ceremony on 20 April 1970, at the White House.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Lance Corporal Thomas E. Creek's name is inscribed on Panel 32W - Line 025.


• In 2005, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Amarillo, TX, was renamed as the Thomas E. Creek Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Death and Burial

Lance Corporal Thomas E. Creek was killed in action on 13 February 1969. He is buried at Llano City Cemetery in Amarillo, TX.

Honoree ID: 917   Created by: MHOH




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