More than anyone needs or wants to know
about…Street, Preas L., COL (R), Class 18-67
A Brief Bio, As Of August 2011 -
Click any picture to see full size image.
I was born in Johnson City, TN
on October 30, 1946.
My father was a man of many talents.
Although he served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater in WWII
repairing (sheet metal repair) B-29s, he was primarily an electrician by trade.
However, he was also a very good mechanic, plumber, carpenter and wood
worker. He built the first house he and
my mom lived in on the lower end of my grandfather’s lot.
My mom worked off and on, mostly in administration and sales. I was
raised in the Johnson City
area except for about three (3) years during which we lived in Landenberg,
started working at a neighborhood grocery store when I was thirteen (13) and
continued working there through high school and into two years of college at
University before being
drafted—entering the service on
September 28, 1966.
After a “false start” at the Reception Station at Fort
Campbell, KY, I was moved to
SC for Basic Training.
Since I had taken two (2) years of ROTC at ETSU and had planned to take
the additional two (2) years and obtain a commission on graduating, I decided to
apply for Officer Candidate School (OCS).
I applied while at Fort Jackson,
but never heard anything prior to graduating.
I then went on to Fort Leonard Wood, MO for Combat Engineer Advanced
Individual Training (AIT). Upon
completion of AIT, I was held over awaiting an OCS class date.
I received a class date for Signal Corps OCS at
Fort Gordon starting in March 1967—Class
was probably the single most challenging, yet rewarding, experience of my life.
The training was intense and the learning invaluable.
It was tough, but I was determined to successfully complete OCS.
I had not heard it back then, but as I think back I believe I was
operating under the axiom of, “What doesn’t kill you makes you a better person!”
However, at that point I had no intention of making the Army a career.
After graduating, I attended the Communications-Electronics Staff Officer
course at Fort Sill, OK
followed by Airborne School
at Fort Benning, GA. My
“Jump School” class was the last one prior to
Christmas 1967, and was actually condensed to two and a half weeks instead of
the normal three weeks.
After finishing jump school and a Christmas leave, I proceeded to
serving a tour with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
from January 1968 to January 1969.
I returned from Vietnam
to the 82nd Signal Battalion at Fort Bragg, NC.
I stayed with the 82nd Signal
Battalion for about eighteen months serving as a Company XO, Assistant S-3,
Company B Commander, and Adjutant. One of
my additional duties while there was a detail as a Survivor Assistance Officer
(SAO). One of my cases led me to Diana
Ceres—her husband of one year, an Armor Lieutenant flying Cobra gunships in
Vietnam, was killed after being in country only
twenty-three days. After serving as her
SAO and after a respectable time, we began dating and were married in the Fort
Bragg Main Post Chapel. While at Bragg,
the Battalion Commander convinced me to apply for “Voluntary Indefinite” status
and later to apply for a Regular Army commission.
So much for my plans to leave the Army and become a Florida State
The Voluntary Indefinite request was approved and I proceeded to the Signal
Officer Advance Course at Fort Monmouth, NJ.
While there, a friend from the 82nd, Pat Copeland (Class
4-66), urged me to apply for the Army’s fully funded degree completion program.
I did so, it was approved, and I proceeded from the Advance Course to the University of Tampa
for degree completion.
After two (2) years in Tampa, I returned to
School at Fort
Monmouth was being consolidated at Fort Gordon
with the Southeastern
I served as an instructor to the Signal Officer Basic Course, Advance
Course, Radio Officer Course, Wire Officer Course, and Warrant Officer
Course from 1973 – 1975. I then moved
over to the 67th Signal Battalion—the only TO&E unit on post at
the time—and commanded Company C until I became the Battalion S-3
(Operations Officer). I left the 67th
Signal battalion in April 1977 to attend the Army’s new Organizational
Effectiveness Staff Officer (OESO) course at Fort Ord, CA—a sixteen-week TDY enroute to Germany.
The OESO course turned out to be another very rewarding experience,
both personally and professionally.
Initially in Germany, I
served as the first OESO for the 7th Signal Brigade at Coleman
Barracks, near Mannheim.
I feel I was successful in establishing the program and in proving
its worth to some skeptical senior officers.
However, I still wasn’t willing to hang my “newly defined” career on
the Organizational Effectiveness program, so I took the position of Deputy
Installation Commander of Coleman Barracks (the 7th Signal
Brigade Commander was the Installation Commander) for the remainder of my
tour in Germany.
I left Germany in May 1980, a few days
after I received word of my maternal grandmother’s death—a retired
schoolteacher and one of the most positive influences in my life.
I was headed for Fort Leavenworth, KS
for the Command and General Staff College (or as we kidded, “the short
After CGSC, a Major by then, I returned to (you guessed it)
I served as an action officer in the Office of the TRADOC System
Manager for Tactical Automatic Switching from 1981 – 1983 and then moved to
the 2nd Signal School Training Brigade as the Deputy Commander.
During that time, another very special an influential person in my
life, my maternal grandfather, passed away.
I thank him for teaching me the basics of living a good life.
In June 1984, the Fort Gordon Chief of Staff was headed to
Fort Huachuca, AZ to
be the Commander of the Communications-Electronics Engineering and
Installation Activity. He asked me to
go with him to be the Executive Officer of the activity.
Due for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) and not knowing what else
might be in the cards, I decided to go to AZ.
Unfortunately, I lost my dad to a heart attack at the end of June
during this transition. I still miss
him and wish I had been closer in the last years he was alive.
After serving as the XO for CEEIA for about six (6) months, I was offered
the position of Secretary of the General Staff (SGS) for the Army’s
Information Systems Command (formerly Strategic Communications Command, but
as ISC was upgraded to a three star command).
I took the job. It was very
time demanding, but I loved the job and also I took a chance and started
pursuing my Masters Degree. I took
classes at night and on weekends using my VA education benefits.
In the middle of all this, I lucked out and made the Battalion
Command List. I was slated for (yep,
you guessed it) a battalion at
I was blessed with a Masters Degree and a command as I left
Huachuca in June 1986.
I took command of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd School
Brigade in July 1986. The Regimental
system was being implemented. My
battalion was re-designated as the newly reactivated 551st Signal
Battalion (formerly an “Aircraft
Warning” battalion). I loved the
command tour. I commanded what was
probably the most unique battalion in the Army at the time—I had three (3)
TRADOC Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA) companies, the Replacement
and Processing Company, the 258th Signal Company (Wire and
Cable), the Military Police Company, a company of Combat Engineers, and two
(2) Tactical Ambulance Detachments.
Total assigned strength averaged over 1700 personnel—a lot of these soldiers
were on the installation staff. In
fact, I was the Commanding General’s Battalion Commander!
I turned over my command in July 1988.
I had decided I would retire in 1989 and was offered the position of
the Assistant Chief of Staff after command.
I lucked out again and was on the O-6 promotion list that year.
However, I was still going to retire.
list came out and (honestly to my surprise) I was on it.
I was slated for the Army
at Carlisle, PA—I decided to go.
After a very educational and fun year at Carlisle, it was time to
move on—yep, you guessed it—back to Fort Gordon,
having been selected for a TRADOC Systems Manager (TSM) position.
I returned to Fort Gordon
in 1990, supposedly to be the TSM for Battlefield Computers; however, the
Colonel in the position decided not to retire for another year.
I was assigned as the Director of Evaluation and Standardization—a
fancy title for a quality control job over the school house.
He did move on after another year, but by that time moving into the
job I had been transferred there to take a year earlier no longer excited
me. I served as the TSM for about a
year and began to get those feelings—those feelings that it was time to do
something else. You always know when
it is time. I retired as a Colonel on October 1, 1992—twenty-six years and three days after being
drafted as a Private.
I actually went on terminal leave in August 1992 and began working on a
government contract supporting the Department of Energy at their Savannah
River Operations Office near Aiken, SC.
In 1995, I assumed duties of the Program Manager and held that
position (working for three different companies holding the contract) until
July 2010. As the then current
contract ended, I decided that after working since I was 13 years old it was
time to do things I wanted to do. I
retired and have been enjoying relaxing and traveling in between checking
things off the old “honey do” list.
Diana and I have two daughters, Debbie and Michele, and four grandchildren,
Tyler, Katherine, Jonathan Preas, and Jessica!
My military decorations and awards include the Parachutist Badge, National
Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 5
stars, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Vietnam Cross of
Gallantry with Palm, Army Commendation Medal, Bronze Star, Meritorious
Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Legion of Merit.
I currently reside in Martinez,
GA (yep, you got it)—near Fort Gordon!
This page originally posted 20 February, 2009, updated 27