Delaware soldier lost in Afghanistan was part of special operations command
Sgt. Andrew Creighton, a special operations specialist on a mission in Afghanistan was described by his father as extremely intelligent and believed in the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Timothy Creighton of Benson, N.C. confirmed that the son he called A.J. apparently drowned while crossing a river in Oruzgan Province. Sgt. Creighton’s body was recovered on July 4th. The elder Creighton was told, “A.J and another soldier were crossing a river on July 1st and were pulled under from the current. The one soldier was rescued and A.J. wasn’t found until Sunday.”
He doesn’t know the exact nature of the mission his son was on. Sgt. Creighton was a signal intelligence specialist. This was his third tour of duty abroad, the first in Afghanistan. He had served time in Iraq and on a base in the Philippines. He has been in Afghanistan for the last 8-10 months, according to his father.
Sgt. Creighton was a 2003 graduate of Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown. He grew up in Laurel. His father said he had originally wanted to go to West Point after he graduated. Then senator, and now Vice President, Joe Biden sponsored his application to the academy, but was turned down. Creighton said, “he decided to enlist in the army in 2004 where he studied to be a translator and an interrogator.”
Timothy Creighton said his son decided he wanted to be in special forces operations, but “I was afraid he wasn’t doing enough research on it (joining),” he said. “But the more he researched the more he realized this was the right thing for him and I agreed with his decision.”
Sgt. Creighton went to school for the next two years where he was immersed in the military defense language institute. During that time Creighton said his son had been invited to reapply to West Point, but “A.J. was already into his training and believed he was following a better course.”
Creighton said when his son went to Afghanistan he would wake up daily at 4 a.m. to communicate with him on Facebook. There were days when he would just miss him, but he knew that he had been on. Other days they would instant message each other. Creighton said he last heard from his son on June 29th. “We never talked about the kind of missions he was on, but when I hadn’t heard from him after a few days I knew that something was wrong,” said Creighton.
Military service is not new to the Creighton family. Timothy Creighton was in the Army. Sgt. Creighton’s uncle was a graduate of the Air Force Academy. Another son Allen is now stationed at an Army base in Hawaii. Timothy Creighton expects him to be deployed overseas soon.
“A.J. blossomed when he got into music,” his father said. He described his son as sometimes isolated, but music turned that around. “He loved to learn. He was always on the computer, and sometimes when he was younger that would set him apart from his peers.”
Creighton said sometimes he questions what the U.S. mission in Afghanistan was all about, but his son never did. “He reassured me that we were doing good things over there and that we were there for the right reasons,” he said. “I took comfort in that.”
Sgt. Creighton is survived by his mother Rebecca Wolter of Cuero, Texas; brother Spc. Allen Creighton of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and sister Alexandria Creighton of Cuero, Texas. His body was returned to Dover Air Force base on Tuesday. The elder Creighton said he was finishing up the paperwork necessary to release the body. He expects the burial to take place at the Houston National Cemetery with full military honors.
Creighton was awarded two Army Commendation medals, the good conduct medal along with several medals and awards for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will be posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. He would have been 24 on July 24th.
“I’m going to miss my son,” he said. “As a father this is hard…but I couldn’t be more proud.”