Preston joined the US Army Air Corps 20 August 1941 and was taken prisoner when the Philippines fell to the Japanese during WWII. He sailed aboard the Tottori Maru, a Japanese "Hell Ship", along with hundreds of other POWs, to Pusan, Korea, and then taken to Hoten POW Camp in Mukden, Manchuria (present-day Shenyang, China). Preston died in Hoten of malaria and epilepsy.
It took a while for Preston to return home. He was buried 4 November 1947 with full military honors.
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