In Memory of
U.S. Army Private Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Minnehaha County

July 18, 1932 -- July 25, 1950
Killed in Action in South Korea

Ronald Lee Preston was born on July 18, 1932, in Humboldt, South Dakota, to Patrick and Marcella (Steineke) Preston. Ronald was the second oldest child out of six children. Ronald went to Lincoln Elementary School and Washington High School in Sioux Falls. Ronald enlisted in the SD National Guard, Battery A, 147th Field Artillery on March 29, 1948.

Ronald was discharged on November 3, 1949, from the SDNG so that he could enlist in the regular Army, which he did the day after his discharge. He was 17 years old. Private Preston was trained at Fort Riley, Kansas as a member of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division and went to Korea June 25, 1950. His parents received a letter from him in Japan dated July 13 and another from Korea just three days before his death.

On July 25, 1950, Private Ronald Preston was first reported missing in action and later declared killed in action on the same date. He had just turned 18 years old, had been overseas for only a month, and was Sioux Falls’ first reported casualty of Korea. It is thought he was killed by the enemy in the Hadong ambush in South Korea. His body was later returned to the United States and he was buried with military honors at the Hartford Cemetery near Sioux Falls.

Private Preston was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

This entry was written by Joshua John Wiercinski, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish South Dakota on May 22, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the American Battle Monuments Commission, an application for a veteran’s bonus, and the SD National Guard Museum. No family contact made.