POLK, PRESTON WAYNE
POLK, PRESTON WAYNE
Rank / Branch:
PFC E-3, U.S. ARMY
FIRST CAVALRY DIVISI
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
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PRESTON WAYNE POLK, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Parachute Wings, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam Military Merit Medal.
Preston Wayne was born in Kermit, Texas. He was the son of Marion Preston “Tex” and Francis Hardeman Polk. His father had grown up in Kermit and was a World War II veteran. Preston was known to the family as “Son.” He had two older sisters and a younger brother, 2 younger sisters and a ½ brother, ½ sister and an adopted sister. He spent his early years moving with the family around West Texas and Eastern New Mexico as his father worked in the oilfields and worked in security. He lived in Kermit, El Paso, Valentine and Fort Stockton.
Preston and Jim Polk, Kermit, Texas 1955
The family moved to Odessa in 1955. In 1956, the family moved to Whitlash, Montana. His parents separated and divorced in 1957 and his mother returned to Odessa with the children. While in Odessa, Preston attended Fannin Elementary, Cameron Elementary, Crockett Junior High and Bowie Junior High School. Preston's mother married Gordon Lewis in 1959 and a daughter, Mary Lewis was born of this marriage. Around 1961, Preston, along with several of the younger brothers and sisters went to live with their father in Whitlash, Montana. His father had married Lois Ann Cain Hoffman and he had adopted her daughter, Carmen Rae. A son, Louis Frank Polk was born of this marriage. While in Montana, Preston (Son) attended school in Whitlash and played football at Shelby High School. During his senior year in high school, he dropped out and entered the U.S. Army in February 1966.
Airborne Training-Fort Benning, Ga.-June 1966
He took his basic at Fort Lewis, Washington and AIT in infantry at Fort Ord, California and parachute training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He began his tour on August 8, 1966 and was assigned as a mortarman with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. In November 1966, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cav had been operating for more than a month near the village of Xuan Binh in the Kontum Province near the coast of the South China Sea.. On November 19, 1966, a patrols were sent out and one platoon remained for observation purposes. The CP spotted an element of V.C. moving into the foothills nearby. A patrol of eight men was sent out to intercede and to intercept them before they could get into the area. It took an hour to get there and the V.C. made it before the patrol did and they unleased small arms fire onto the patrol. The V.C. had dug into caves, and behind the rock ledges in the area. They were sniping at the C Company troops. Preston's platoon joined the fight. Preston was struck by a bullet that hit his ammo pouch which was attached to his belt. This ignited his ammo driving these rounds into his abdomen. He fell into the rocks on the down side of an incline and the medical evacuation chopper was only able to extract him using a cable lift. As he was being lifted up, the V.C. fired at him. He died the following day at the medevac hospital. .
Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery, Odessa, Tx
At the time of his death, Preston’s mother was living in Odessa and Preston was buried with full military honors in Sunset Memorial Garden’s Cemetery. He was survived by his mother, Leatrice Hardeman Polk Lewis and step father, Gordon of Odessa; his father, Marion Preston "Tex" Polk and step mother, Lois Cain Hoffman Polk of Whitlash, Montana; his sister Beverly Massey of Odessa; his sister, Donna Polk Webb of Odessa; his brother, Jim and his sisters Lucy and Debra Lynn both of Whitlash, Montana, 1/2 brother Louis Frank of Whitlash, Montana and 1/2 sister, Mary Lewis of Odessa.
His mother passed away from cancer in Kenai, Alaska, October 4, 1974 and is buried in Sunset Memorial Gardens in Odessa next to Preston; his sister, Beverly died in February 1981 and is buried in Monroe, Louisiana; his father, Marion Preston "Tex" passed away on October 29, 1981, also from cancer and he is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Shelby, Montana; his sister, Donna Gay Polk Webb Freeman White was killed in an auto accident when her truck went off the road in Pennsylvania, January 5, 1991 and she is buried in Brownwood, Texas. His brothers Jim and Louis live in Montana and his sister Debbie Polk McKenzie lives in Williston, North Dakota, his sister Lucy Polk Griffith lives in Odessa, and his sister, Carmen Rae Polk lives in Conrad, Montana.
PFC Polk's death is chronicled in the book, "Breaking Squelch, A Vietnam Introspective" by Stephen D. Saunders and also in an essay by James A. Hubbs published in "Vietnam", June 1998 edition.