Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Ken Preston | 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment - Army

5:30   |   After graduating from the Command Sergeant Major Academy, Ken Preston had to wait a little while for his assignment. When it came, things started happening fast. The next thing you know, he was in the desert in Kuwait.

More From Ken Preston

Keywords   :     Ken Preston    Command Sergeant Major (CSM)    Saddam Hussein    Kuwait    Operation Intrinsic Action    3rd Brigade Combat Team    1st Cavalry Division    Greywolf Brigade    Ed Robbs

Videos ( 33 )
  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  US Army Armor School  |  10:13

    He was back at Fort Knox, where ordinary tank gunners became master gunners. Ken Preston enjoyed passing knowledge on to young NCO's who could go back to their units as a more valuable asset. He had served in Germany and the Middle East and was coming up on a big decision. Make twenty and retire or keep going?

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  NCO Academy, US Army Armor School  |  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.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  Multiple Units  |  6:50

    Just as he was retiring from a twenty year career, Ken Preston was persuaded to stay because he had a good chance of becoming a Command Sgt Major. It happened for him and he began the most interesting course of instruction he had been through.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment  |  5:32

    Ken Preston began his career as a Command Sgt Major in the deserts of Kuwait. His unit had mobilized in response to some sabre rattling by Saddam Hussein. After four months, he returned to Fort Hood with the 3-8 Cav, what he considered to be a model battalion.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment  |  9:28

    Ken Preston figured that he'd risen as far as he could go in the Army and was looking for property in Texas for his retirement. But, once again, he stayed to move up. He became a Brigade Command Sgt Major and was not in that position for very long when he was asked to interview for the CSM job at 1st Armored Division.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  1st Armored Division  |  6:50

    The 1st Armored Division was in Germany and prepping for Kosovo when Ken Preston arrived to take over the Command Sgt Major position. He had only been there a little more than a year when he got a call from US Army Europe headquarters. It was a familiar story, by now. They needed a big list of applicants for an important position.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  V Corp Headquarters  |  6:31

    On September 11, 2001, there were 130 senior leaders huddled in a town pavilion during a war exercise in Heidelberg. An aide handed a slip of paper to V Corps commander Gen Scott Wallace. He showed it to Command Sgt Major Ken Preston. A plane had hit the World Trade center. Then there was a second slip of paper and the General stood up and addressed the crowd. Everything had changed at that moment.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  Sergeant Major of the Army  |  8:53

    The all volunteer Army faced serious challenges in the transition from a conscript force. Retired Sgt Major of the Army Ken Preston was there for the whole ride and has some observations about how it became a success.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  Sergeant Major of the Army  |  3:23

    Retired Sgt Major of the Army Ken Preston talks about a new challenge faced by today's Army, finding enough recruits that can pass the fitness requirements.

  • Ken Preston  |  Other  |  Sergeant Major of the Army  |  11:39

    It was a long and interesting career. Ken Preston rose from a tank gunner to become Sgt Major of the Army. But he didn't stop there. After retiring, he became involved with several worthwhile charitable and service organizations, including Homes For Our Troops and the USO.

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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