ud Creeth was born to Frederick G and Ida S. (Kay) Creeth in Los Angeles, California. The family moved to Hastings, Nebraska, in the late 1890s where Fred began working in the flour market. The family lived with Bud’s maternal grandparents and continued to do so after the death of his father in 1902. Bud attended school in Hastings and Long Beach, California. He also attended Hastings College and Colorado School of Mines.
While working as a miner for the Phelps Dodge Corporation at their copper mine in Morenci, Arizona, Bud enlisted in the United States Army Air Service during World War I. He received aviation training with the 89th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field in Texas and Garden City, New York. He was a Sergeant with the 89th Aero Squadron in France before receiving a commission and flight training at the 3rd Aviation Instruction Center in Issoudun, France. Upon completion of his final examinations on Feb. 20, 1918, Bud rose quickly within the ranks. He became known for his skill as a conservative, yet daring pilot. By the end of the war, Bud was a second lieutenant with the 638th Aero Squadron, where he had been transferred to after the Armistice. Bud returned home to Hastings in June 1919.
Upon his arrival back home, Bud began a career in aviation. He worked as a commercial and exhibition aviator with the Hastings Aero Company, the Snyder-Creeth Aero Co., and the Brumley-Creeth Motor Co. Later, Bud and his mother moved to Los Angeles, California, where he began working at Rogers Airport. While at Rogers Airport, Bud worked as an instructor and stunt pilot for films, most notably the 1923 film Eyes of the Forest, starring Tom Mix. Just like the military, Bud was well known for his daring feats in the air. In 1924, Bud along with fellow pilots Wesley May and Earl Daughtery successfully completed refueling a plane while in flight. Bud and Earl were flying while May, strapped with a 5-gallon can of gas, climbed from Bud’s plane onto Earl’s over Beverly Hills. Bud was also known as a bootlegger, flying goods from Mexico to California at night.