Former Mt. Savage resident sworn in as Army Sgt. Major

Kenneth Preston celebrates his installation as the 13th sergeant major of the U.S. Army with his family in his home in Fort Myers, Va. From the left are John "Hack" Preston, uncle who served with the Army; Betty Preston, mother who served with the Air Force; Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston; Oscar Preston, father who served with the Army; and uncles William, James and Owen Preston, who all served with the Army.

Cumberland Times-News Tuesday, January 27, 2004

From Staff Reports

CUMBERLAND — Former Mount Savage resident Kenneth Preston was sworn in recently as the 13th sergeant major of the U.S. Army, the highest-ranking enlisted position.

Preston had been the senior enlisted soldier for the Army’s V Corps, headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, since April 2001. In February, Preston deployed to Kuwait with the corps, the lead ground element in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following the corps’ 16-day combat drive into Baghdad, he assumed the added position of command sergeant major for the U.S.-led coalition’s Combined Joint Task Force-7.

He now serves as personal adviser to Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker at the Pentagon.

Preston is the son of Oscar and Betty Preston of Mount Savage. The Prestons moved from their family farm in the Finzel area, where Kenneth spent the earliest years of his childhood.

Oscar Preston served in the Army and Betty Preston was in the Air Force, both during the 1950s. They attended his swearing-in ceremony along with his uncles William, Jim, Owen and John, who also served in the military.

Kenneth Preston joined the Army as an armor crew member in 1975 after graduating from Mount Savage High School. He has given 28 years of his life to Army service, achieving every leadership position in the armor field and beyond, to service as V Corps and CJTF-7 command sergeant major, and even to the British Royal Armoured Corps Gunnery School, where he served as an instructor.

Preston and his wife, Karen, have three children, Valerie, Kenneth and Michael, who serves as a specialist with the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown. He was home on leave from Baghdad and attended his father’s swearing-in ceremony.