A native of Harlan County, Kentucky and the son of William and Martha Short Creech, Jesse Orin Creech attended public school in Harlan County, the University of Kansas and Cornell University before he joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. After training in Canada, he served as a flight instructor in Texas. In early 1918, he transferred to the United States Air Service and was assigned to the 148th Aero Squadron on 4 July 1918. On 2 September 1918, two flights of his squadron engaged fifteen Fokker D.VIIs of Jasta Boelcke. In the ensuing battle, Creech and four other Sopwith Camel pilots were shot down. Taking part in his squadron's last patrol of the war, Creech scored his final victory on 28 October 1918. Prior to World War II, Creech held an administrative post in Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. Becoming ill on 9 November 1947, he was admitted to the Nichols Veterans Hospital in December 1947 and died there six weeks later. He was 52 years old.
Daily News - Saturday, February 21, 1948
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Jesse Orin Creech, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action at Cambrai, France, September 26, 1918; south of Masnieres, France, September 28, 1918; and near Jenlain, France, October 28, 1918. Being on enemy patrol on September 26, 1918, when a large number of enemy airplanes were encountered, in the fight that ensued Lieutenant Creech shot down two of the enemy planes and save the commander of the patrol from being shot down. On October 28, 1918, near Jenlain, France, Lieutenant Creech's flight of 5 planes was attacked by 8 Fokker biplanes. In this encounter Lieutenant Creech also shot down 2 enemy planes. On September 28, 1918, south of Masnieres, France, Lieutenant Creech with his flight attacked an enemy balloon and compelled the observers to jump. Enemy troops were then attacked in close formation, causing many casualties and scattering all the troops. In all of these encounters Lieutenant Creech displayed high courage, great valor, and utter disregard of danger. He constantly went to the assistance of members of his flight and exposed himself with great fearlessness, and yet with all displayed keen judgment and tireless energy. He proved himself a leader of unusual ability, and was a constant inspiration to the members of his command.
General Orders No. 19, W.D., 1926
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
On 28 October 1918, this officer's flight attacked seven Fokker biplanes; after shooting one off his Flight Commander's tail, he attacked another which crashed NW of Jenlain. On another occasion in a general engagement, the EA dived through a cloud and Lt. Creech followed him and succeeded in getting another burst which caused the EA to crash near Bourlon Wood. This officer has served over four months with his Squadron and has destroyed six EA and driven down one out of control. He has often acted as patrol leader and shown great judgement and skill, and his gallantry and devotion to duty have at all times been very noteworthy.