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First Name: Arthur

Last Name: Preston

Birthplace: Washington, DC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Washington, DC
Middle Name: Murray

Date of Birth: 01 November 1913

Date of Death: 07 January 1968

Rank or Rate: Commander

Years Served: 1940 - 1953
Arthur Murray Preston

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Arthur Murray Preston

Commander, U.S. Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Commander Arthur Murray Preston (1 November 1913 - 7 January 1968) was a U.S. Navy officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during World War II.

Arthur Murray Preston was born on 1 November 1913 in Washington, DC; he also joined the Navy from that city. On 16 September 1944, he was serving as a Lieutenant in Torpedo Boat Squadron 33. On that day, Preston commanded two PT boats in the successful rescue of a downed Navy pilot in Wasile Bay, Halmahera Island in Indonesia, despite intense fire from Japanese forces. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant Commander and awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy Reserve, Torpedo Boat Squadron 33.

Place and date: Wasile Bay, Halmahera Island, 16 September 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commander, Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 33, while effecting the rescue of a Navy pilot shot down in Wasile Bay, Halmahera Island, less than 200 yards from a strongly defended Japanese dock and supply area, 16 September 1944. Volunteering for a perilous mission unsuccessfully attempted by the pilot's squadron mates and a PBY plane, Lt. Comdr. (then Lieutenant) Preston led PT-489 and PT-363 through 60 miles of restricted, heavily mined waters. Twice turned back while running the gauntlet of fire from powerful coastal defense guns guarding the 11-mile strait at the entrance to the bay, he was again turned back by furious fire in the immediate area of the downed airman. Aided by an aircraft smokescreen, he finally succeeded in reaching his objective and, under vicious fire delivered at 150-yard range, took the pilot aboard and cleared the area, sinking a small hostile cargo vessel with 40-mm. fire during retirement. Increasingly vulnerable when covering aircraft were forced to leave because of insufficient fuel, Lt. Comdr. Preston raced PT boats 489 and 363 at high speed for 20 minutes through shell-splashed water and across minefields to safety. Under continuous fire for 2 l/2 hours, Lt. Comdr. Preston successfully achieved a mission considered suicidal in its tremendous hazards, and brought his boats through without personnel casualties and with but superficial damage from shrapnel. His exceptional daring and great personal valor enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Preston reached the rank of Commander before leaving the Navy.

Death and Burial

Commander Arthur Murray Preston died on 7 January 1968 at age 54. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 3, Lot 1847-A-1.

Honoree ID: 1607   Created by: MHOH




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