Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Ken Preston | NCO Academy, US Army Armor School - Army

11:59   |   Ken Preston had a very rewarding position as 1st Sgt at BNCOC, the basic NCO course at Fort Knox. Scouts, tank and Bradley crewmen and mechanics all received their instruction there. He was elevated to deputy commandant, which meant that he was now the busiest person in the Army. He was right up on twenty years and he filled out the form for a retirement date, but his boss had something to say about that.

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Keywords   :     Ken Preston    Basic NCO Course (BNCOC)    MOS 19D    MOS 19K    scout    tank    MOS 45E    MOS 45T    Bradley Fighting Vehicle    mechanic    MOS 63T    MOS 63E    retire    Steve Morgan    drawdown

Videos ( 33 )
Cold War
  • Ken Preston  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  6:49

    Ken Preston was from the mountains of western Maryland, where the old family farm was a great place to grow up. Without the grades for a scholarship, and not wanting to saddle his parents with the cost of a college education, he decided to join the Army for just long enough to get the GI Bill.

  • Ken Preston  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  5:49

    His dream was to be an architect, but now he was in the Army for a few years. The recruiter tried to help Ken Preston by putting him on an engineering and surveying path, but he found out about a $2500 bonus for committing to an armored unit. That was a lot of money in 1975.

  • Ken Preston  |  Cold War  |  2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division  |  10:01

    Ken Preston's first duty was at Fort Hood, where he got a plum assignment in the headquarters company as a tank crewman. There were only three tanks in the section, including the battalion commander's tank. The unit spent a lot of time testing and evaluating new tanks to determine which technology the Army should adopt.

  • Ken Preston  |  Cold War  |  1st Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division  |  7:29

    It was still his plan to get out, take the GI Bill and go to college, but his unit was moving to Germany so he had to make a decision. Should I reenlist and take the family to see the sights of Europe? Affirmative. He reported there and found lodging and a car and the family followed. Right away, his wife was on her own while he went to the basic noncom course.

  • Ken Preston  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  11:20

    It turned out that he had a knack for gunnery, so Ken Preston became a tank master gunner and was promoted to staff sergeant. That was while he was in Cold War Germany. His next stop was the armor school at Fort Knox, instructing in weapons systems. He was doing very well there and that got him a VIP assignment as an exchange instructor in England, where his family could enjoy another scenic location.

  • Ken Preston  |  Cold War  |  11th Armored Cavalry Regiment  |  5:16

    Ken Preston was on his second German tour when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989. It was a special time for him and his family. As soon as it was allowed, they drove into East Germany and sat in a beer garden opposite Russian soldiers.

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Desert Storm
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