Friday, April 13, 2018

WW2 US Naval Academy Fallen - Silver Star hero James Preston, USS Bryant

Lt. Commander James Preston was the executive officer on the destroyer USS Bryant.,_LCDR,_USN 
James T. Preston never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 13, 1918 in West Virginia. His parents Samuel and Elizabeth were also both born in West Virginia. His father worked as a lawyer and a farmer. James had four older brothers, at least three of them served in the military, and one, at least, was a West Point graduate. By 1940 James had graduated from the US Naval Academy.

On April 16, 1945, Lt Commander Preston was serving as the executive officer on the destroyer USS Bryant off of the coast of Okinawa. On that day the Japanese sent an attack of 165 kamikaze planes to sink American ships. Six enemy planes targeted Bryant.  One of them got through and its bomb exploded on the bridge, Lt. Cdr. Preston's station, wounding 33 men and killing 34 more, including Preston. The ship survived the kamikaze attack.

For his action in this engagement, Lt. Cdr. Preston was awarded the Silver Star. His citation reads in part:

Demonstrating remarkable skill and efficiency as evaluator in the Combat Information Center during repeated enemy aerial attack as the BRYANT proceeded to the assistance of the U.S.S. LAFFEY, Lieutenant Commander Preston, fully aware of the strength and force of the enemy's onslaught, maintained the CIC at maximum operating efficiency with the result that at no time was the ship attacked without prior warning. 

Persevering and determined, he continued his effective direction until killed at his post by the explosion of a bomb when an enemy plane struck the ship. 

His excellent evaluation and dissemination of information was a vital factor in conning the ship and bringing the guns to bear to afford the maximum amount of protection and his steadfast courage and unwavering devotion in the face of tremendous opposition was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

His grave is at Stuart Burying Ground, Fort Stuart, Virginia.

Thank you James for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for James.

Last year on this date I profiled Armstead Ross, 2nd Marine Division, who fought on Tarawa. You can read about Armstead here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

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1 comment:

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