September 7, 2003 by

Bill Creech


Categories: Military

bcreech.jpgWilbur L. “Bill” Creech, a retired four-star general, died on Aug. 26. Cause of death was not released. He was 76.
Creech received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Maryland, and a master’s in international relations at George Washington University. After he earned his wings in 1949, Creech was assigned with the 51st Fighter Wing at Naha, Okinawa. As a combat pilot in Korea and Vietnam, Creech flew 280 missions and was decorated 39 times, including 22 awards for bravery in combat.
Trained to fly more than 40 types of aircraft, Creech joined the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Team, also known as the Thunderbirds, in the 1950s and flew over 100 demonstrations in the U.S. and South America. He later earned the nickname, “Father of the Thunderbirds,” for his work in rescuing the team from congressional budget cuts.
In 1968, Creech was sent to Vietnam to work as the deputy commander for operations of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phu Cat Air Base. He became commander of the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia in the 1970s, where he oversaw the development of A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, the F-15E night fighter and the Stealth fighter. He received the rank of general in 1978.
After retiring from the service, Creech moved to Nevada, built a management advisory company, served as a consultant for General Electric, IBM and Johnson & Johnson, and published the book, “The Five Pillars of TQM: How to Make Total Quality Management Work for You.”
“No single officer has had greater influence on the Air Force in recent times than Gen. Bill Creech. He transformed the way the Air Force conducts warfare,” Gen. John P. Jumper, chief of staff of the Air Force, said.

9 Responses to Bill Creech

  1. Joseph Richard

    He will always be remembered by past, present and future Team members thank you for all you did for our Team “ONCE A THUNDERBIRD ALWAYS A THUNDERBIRD”
    Joe Richard 98-03

  2. Oscar Ramirez

    I only wish I would have heard and read Bill Creech’s work earlier on. His book, 5 Pillars of TQM, is great, whished I could have met him.

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  4. Ronald Riedasch

    I did meet and get to know Bill Creech when he was developing material for his book. I have known CEO’s of Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, a president of Microsoft and various other men of distinction.
    I will say without a doubt that Bill Creech is the most impressive man I have ever met in my entire life. Period.

  5. William B. Creech

    Interesting turn of events- I heard of Gen Creech when I served in the Army at Ft. Polk, LA in 1981, from an Air Force officer. My father also served as an Air Force officer but I had not heard the name until that time. Last year my daughter saw the “5 Pillars” in her college bookstore and bought it on a whim. I started reading it this summer with great enthusiasm. The principles need to be re-instilled in our business acumen. They hold true today.
    My deepest regrets and best wishes to his family and friends. Somehow I feel a closeness because of the name and think I missed something by never attempting to meet the man until I read his book and now its too late.
    A great American and a great leader!

  6. Michael Bordelon

    When reading his book “The Five Pillars of TQM” this past November it was frightning how he predicted almost exactly the failures of GM and why.

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