Preston (Mahan-class) file photo [4153]

Preston (Mahan-class)

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassMahan-class Destroyer
BuilderMare Island Navy Yard
Laid Down27 Oct 1934
Launched22 Apr 1936
Commissioned27 Oct 1936
Sunk14 Nov 1942
Displacement1,500 tons standard
Length341 feet
Beam35 feet
Draft10 feet
Speed37 knots
Armament5x5in, 12x21in torpedo tubes


ww2dbaseFollowing shakedown cruise, Preston briefly served under the Chief of Naval Operations, then was assigned to Battle Force, US Fleet, US Navy. She conducted training exercises in the Pacific Ocean until the United States entered WW2 on 7 Dec 1941. Between Dec 1941 and May 1942, she patrolled the west coast of the United States. On 1 Jun 1942, she sailed to Hawaii to join Task Group 11.1 to deliver aircraft, pilots, and supplies to carriers Enterprise and Hornet off Midway. Between 13 Jun and 15 Oct, she conducted training and patrol exercises off Hawaii. On 15 Oct, she sailed with Task Force 16 to join Task Force 17, which formed Task Force 61, for the Solomon Islands. She first saw combat at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in late Oct 1942, downing two Japanese aircraft while suffering no damage. On the evening of 14 Nov 1942, Preston sailed with other ships to patrol Ironbottom Sound, and encountered Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo's force consisted of battleship Kirishima, heavy cruisers Atago and Takao, two light cruisers, and a destroyer squadron from Java, resulting in the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. At about 2327, about 10 minutes after the battle began, while preparing for a torpedo run, Preston was struck by a battleship shell, toppling the afterstack and putting out both firerooms. The fire started by the hit made her an attractive target for Japanese gunfire. At 2336, after receiving several more hits, abandon ship order was given. Seconds later, she rolled over onto her side. At 2346, she sank, taking 116 of her crew down with her.

ww2dbaseSources: Guadalcanal Campaign, United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2007

Destroyer Preston (Mahan-class) Interactive Map


Destroyers Smith and Preston under construction at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 1 Jul 1935Smith and Preston at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 21 Sep 1936PrestonHenley ready for launching, Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 12 Jan 1937; note Preston partially visible through the crane rails, at right
See all 10 photographs of Destroyer Preston (Mahan-class)


Map depicting Japanese and US Naval movements during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal the night of Nov 14, 1942.

Preston (Mahan-class) Operational Timeline

27 Oct 1936 Preston (Mahan-class) was commissioned into service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Kristi Sytsma says:
27 Jan 2010 02:05:25 PM

I'm looking for information on my great uncle Fred Holste. I've been told that he died in WWII on the ship Preston. Could you please help me confirm this informaion? Could you give me any additional information on what he may have done in the service and on the ship? If you can't help me maybe you could point me in the right direction. Thank you and Sincerely, Kristi Sytsma
2. Anonymous says:
8 Aug 2010 09:21:20 PM

My father John Harvey Newman and one other crew member swam to Savo Island after the Preston was ordered abandoned. Can you tell me how many other crew members survived and swam for it? How long before they were picked up? What else can you tell me about my father at this time if anything? Thank you Patty
3. Carl cannon says:
17 Sep 2017 10:36:07 PM

My uncle..Cecil Butler died on this ship.. I never got to meet him,But I am forever grateful for his service,and so proud of his efforts in defeating the Japanese
4. steve says:
7 Nov 2017 07:00:41 PM

My father in law George Lemmon was on the Preston when she went down. He was a signalman. I don't member if he swam ashore or was picked up by islanders. He did spend time at the US, NAB on Savoy.

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More on Preston (Mahan-class)
Event(s) Participated:
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign

Destroyer Preston (Mahan-class) Photo Gallery
Destroyers Smith and Preston under construction at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 1 Jul 1935
See all 10 photographs of Destroyer Preston (Mahan-class)

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