When West Point came calling, Andrew Creighton decided to pass.
Creighton’s dad, Tim, said his son had applied to the Army’s elite officer training school, but wasn’t admitted immediately after high school graduation. So he enlisted in the Army instead.
“After he enlisted, he started receiving letters from West Point,” Tim Creighton said Friday from his home in Benson, N.C. “But he liked what he was doing as an enlisted man, so he decided not to pursue it.”
Sgt. Andrew James Creighton died last week in a river in Afghanistan, still doing the enlisted man’s job that he loved. The 23-year-old was a signal intelligence specialist, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He was assigned to the base south of Tacoma in April 2007.
The Department of Defense news release issued Thursday said Creighton died of injuries sustained in combat, with no further details provided.
Military officials told Creighton’s father that his son’s body was discovered Sunday, several days after he disappeared in a river in Oruzgan province.
“They told me that toward the end of a mission, A.J. had to cross a river,” Tim Creighton said.
While making the crossing, he disappeared. Three days later, on July Fourth, his body was recovered.
The Army is investigating what happened, said Maj. Manuel Ortiz of the Army Special Forces command.
Creighton had previously served in Iraq and in the Philippines. He was on his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Father and son kept in touch via Facebook, and the elder Creighton recalled plenty of friendly 4 a.m. online chats.
The oldest of three children, A.J. Creighton was born in Galveston, Texas, and spent his childhood and teen years in Laurel, Del. He graduated from Sussex Technical High School in 2003, where he was a member of the all-state band and state wrestling team.
“He was into science, physics,” his dad recalled. “He was a talented musician who played several instruments. He was a well-rounded kid. Well-liked.”
He joined the Army soon after graduation. His military training included learning Korean.
His dad is an Army veteran, and his brother Spc. Allen Creighton also is in the Army, currently stationed in Hawaii.
Creighton is survived by his mother, Rebecca Wolter, and his sister, Alexandria Creighton.
His father said burial is planned for Houston National Cemetery.
Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635 firstname.lastname@example.org