Local soldier killed in Iraq
Covina man dreamed of becoming a police officer
By Phil Drake Staff Writer
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
COVINA - Army Spc. Matthew Creed called his mother about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, excited that within 45 days he would be out of Iraq and stationed back in the United States.
He was making plans, one of which was to buy his first new vehicle.
"I am coming home," his mother, Kimberly, 45, recalled him saying. "He was real excited about that.
"One of the last things he said to me was `I love you mom.' I told him to be careful."
He promised he would.
The next day, the 2001 Charter Oak High School graduate was killed by a sniper's bullet in Baghdad while on foot patrol.
He was 23.
Creed was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
As of Wednesday, at least 2,804 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. Creed was the 19th person from the San Gabriel Valley to die in the war.
Matthew Creed had been in the military since 2003, his father, Richard, 47, said Wednesday in a telephone interview from the Rancho Cucamonga home they have lived in for two months.
He wanted to become a police officer, and interviewed with the Covina Police Department. He learned he was not qualified and someone suggested he go into the military to gain experience, Richard Creed said.
Matthew was friends with Scott Hanson, the Covina police sergeant who died in July from injuries he suffered during a 2003 vehicle crash.
Family members said the friendship had "a good effect on Matt."
Matthew Creed had a job making sandwiches at Blimpie's in San Dimas when he decided to join the Army.
He was was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., for boot camp, followed by a year in Korea. After that, he was offered an assignment in Washington, D.C., but asked to be sent to a combat unit so that he could perform the duties that he had been trained for, Richard Creed said.
Richard Creed said one of Matthew's nephews may have pegged him best:
"He sometimes made bad decisions but whatever he did he went 100 mph and never looked back. But he always ended up doing a good job."
They remember when he was 4 or 5 and had been watching a television show about paramedics.
Later, they found him in the back yard. He was wearing his fire helmet and doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on his teddy bear.
Other than his parents, Matthew is survived by his wife, Ashley, and brother, James, 19.
Services are pending, his parents said, but added they would likely be at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Covina.
Matthew Creed signed his leave papers on Saturday and would have been out of Iraq by December. He was also getting a month's vacation.
He called his mom to tell her the good news.
After 40 minutes he had to hang up.
He had to go to work.
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