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Millard Blackwell Creef Papers


Millard Blackwell Creef was a native of East Lake, N.C., who enlisted in World War II in August 1942. Creef was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Camp Stoneman in California, and Camp Shanks in New York before being deployed to North Africa in May 1943. Creef was killed in action in Sicily in September 1943 and reportedly the "first Manteo boy to die in service" in World War II. The Millard Blackwell Creef Papers, circa 1920s-1959 and 2011, comprises the personal papers of Millard Blackwell Creef, most of which were created during his service in World War II and compiled by members of his immediate family. The bulk of the collection consists of letters written by Creef to his parent ... (more below)

Title

Millard Blackwell Creef Papers

Collection Number

PC.5278

Date(s)

circa 1920s-1959, 2011

Box 1Box 2
Language

English

Abstract

Millard Blackwell Creef was a native of East Lake, N.C., who enlisted in World War II in August 1942. Creef was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Camp Stoneman in California, and Camp Shanks in New York before being deployed to North Africa in May 1943. Creef was killed in action in Sicily in September 1943 and reportedly the "first Manteo boy to die in service" in World War II. The Millard Blackwell Creef Papers, circa 1920s-1959 and 2011, comprises the personal papers of Millard Blackwell Creef, most of which were created during his service in World War II and compiled by members of his immediate family. The bulk of the collection consists of letters written by Creef to his parents and sister while he was stationed at Fort Bragg, Camp Stoneman, Camp Shanks, and overseas in North Africa and Sicily.

Physical Location

7B5

Creator

Creef, Millard Blackwell, 1921-1943

Repository

Outer Banks History Center


Available for research


Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by the United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying these materials.


Processed by Molly Cieri and Samantha Crisp, July 2018.


Millard Blackwell Creef was born on 15 May 1921 in East Lake, N.C. to Thomas M. Creef, a veteran of World War I, and Alena Jewel Creef. He graduated from Manteo High School in 1939 and enlisted in the Army in February 1942. On 17 August 1942, he began basic training at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he took a series of mental examinations and completed an interview to determine his ultimate placement in the Army. Creef left Fort Bragg on August 26th and headed for California. Upon first arriving, Creef temporarily stayed in Camp Funston Park in San Francisco before transferring to the 10th Port of Embarkation, Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, California, where he trained as a carpenter and then a clerk. Creef trained at Camp Stoneman from late August 1942 until late April 1943 when he transferred to Fort Shanks in Orangetown, New York. He remained at Fort Shanks only a short time before being deployed to northern Africa, where he arrived 16 May 1943. By 31 July, his company had relocated to Sicily. During this time, Creef was frequently sick and spoke of significant weight loss due to his ailments and the poor quality of food overseas. Creef was killed in action 17 September 1943 at the age of 22. The Dare County Times reported that he was the "first Manteo boy to die in service in World War II" (1 October 1943.). He was survived by his father, mother, and younger sister, Stella M. Creef. At the request of his parents, Creef was buried alongside his fellow soldiers at the Sicily-Rome American cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, Plot E, Row 11, Grave 8.


[Identification of item], PC.5278, Millard Blackwell Creef Papers, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, U.S.A.


Donated by Lynn Gardner, June 2011 and August 2011.


The Millard Blackwell Creef Papers, circa 1920s-1959 and 2011, comprises the personal papers of Millard Blackwell Creef, most of which were created during his service in World War II and compiled by members of his immediate family. The bulk of the collection consists of letters written by Creef to his parents and sister while he was stationed at Fort Bragg, Camp Stoneman, Camp Shanks, and overseas in North Africa and Sicily. In these letters, Creef frequently talks about casual, lighthearted topics, such as the quality of food in camp and his outings in Pittsburg, California, and the surrounding area. He also discusses the various forms of entertainment he participates in, including watching motion pictures and U.S.O. shows, playing board games, and playing sports. While stationed at Camp Stoneman, Creef took classes in architectural drafting, typing, and bookkeeping. Occasionally, Creef remarks on current events in his letters, including one item dated 2 December 1942 in which he discusses the Cocoanut Grove Fire in Boston, Massachusetts.

Some of Creef's letters make reference to some of the difficulties of life at Camp Stoneman during wartime. In an undated letter (apparently written in September 1942), Creef describes a riot that ensued in Pittsburg after "a negro cut a white soldier's throat and killed him." In his letter of 27 January 1943, Creef mentions that racial tensions were high in the camp, noting that "when the Southern boys get a few drinks, there is a pretty good chance for a fight if he has to sit in the same bar or bus with a negro." Some of Creef's letters also reflect dissention among his fellow soldiers. A 3 November 1942 letter discusses a soldier who is apparently faking an injury in an attempt to obtain a medical discharge, while a letter dated 6 November 1942 mentions soldiers who committed suicide or attempted desertion upon learning their battalions were going to be sent overseas. Beginning in spring 1943, Creef's letters frequently describe the U.S. Army's censorship efforts and not being able to communicate much information to his family. After leaving Camp Stoneman, Creef's letters decrease significantly in frequency. His last letter is dated 14 September 1943, three days before he was killed.

In addition to Creef's letters to his family, the collection includes a diary kept by Creef primarily during his journey from California to New York; documents related to his enlistment, death, and burial; photographs of Creef and some of his fellow soldiers; blank postcards collected by Creef in Sicily; and a handful of published books and booklets, presumably in Creef's possession at the time of his death. Also included is a folder of genealogical information about the Creef family compiled by Lynn Gardner, Creef's niece and the donor of this collection.


  • Creef family
  • Race relations.
  • World War, 1939-1945--California
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--North Africa
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Italy--Sicily
  • World War, 1939-1945--Casualties--United States
  • World War, 1939-1945--North Carolina--Dare County
  • World War, 1939-1945--United States--Sources
  • Camp Shanks (NY)
  • Camp Stoneman (Pittsburg, Calif.)
  • Fort Bragg (N.C.)