Creighton started flight training following graduation from Annapolis and received his wings in October, 1967.
He was with VF-154 from July 1968 to May 1970, flying F-4J's and made two combat deployments to Vietnam aboard the USS RANGER (CVA-61). From June 1970 to February 1971, he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, and upon graduation was assigned as a project test pilot with the Service Test Division at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
During this two year tour of duty, he served as the F-14 engine development project officer. In July 1973, Creighton commenced a four year assignment with VF-2 and became a member of the first F-14 operational squadron, completing two deployments aboard the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) to the Western Pacific.
He returned to the United States in July 1977 and was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center's Strike Directorate as operations officer and F-14 program manager. He has logged over 6,000 hours flying time, the majority of it in jet fighters, and has completed 500 carrier landings and 175 combat missions.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, Creighton became an astronaut in August 1979.
During the following four years he held a variety of technical assignments in support of the Space Shuttle Program. Following his first flight, Creighton became the astronaut representative to the Shuttle Program Manager. During the ensuing two years, Creighton participated in all the key decisions following the Challenger disaster helping to shape the plan for resuming safe manned space flight.
Starting with STS-26, Creighton served as Lead "CAPCOM" for the first four Space Shuttle flights. In March 1989 he was assigned to command STS-36 but continued to serve as Head of the Mission Support Branch in the Astronaut Office until commencing full time training for his upcoming flight.
Following his second flight, Creighton headed up the Operations Development Branch within the Astronaut Office for one year prior to resuming full-time training for his next command.
Creighton served as pilot on STS-51G (June 17-24, 1985), was spacecraft commander on STS-36 (February 28 to March 4, 1990) and STS-48 (September 12-18, 1991), and has logged over 403 hours in space. His cumulative hours of space flight are more than 404. Captain Creighton left NASA and retired from the Navy in July 1992. He is currently a Test Pilot with Boeing Airplane Company.