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S1C General Preston Douglas
U. S. Navy (USN), Crew member USS Helena (CL-50)
Missing In Action Battle of Kula Gulf, Remains Recovered

Click For EnlargementBackground
General Preston Douglas was born in Newcomb, Tennessee. His parents were Walter and Bertha Douglas. His siblings were brother Walter Garfield Douglas and sister Regina Douglas Collins.

Wartime History
Douglas enlisted in the U. S. Navy (USN) on December 17, 1941 as serial number 2960771. After training, Seaman 1st Class Douglas was assigned as a crew member aboard USS Helena (CL-50).

MIAMissing In Action
On July 5, 1943 during the Battle of Kula Gulf in early morning hours USS Helena (CL-50) was hit by torpedoes fired by Japanese destroyers Suzukaze and Tanikaze and sank during the early morning of July 6, 1943. After the sinking, more than 700 crew were rescued, but more than 150 remained missing.

Douglas was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA) and officially declared dead on August 10, 1945. In fact, his body was buried by his shipmates or Solomon Islanders and buried roughly 200 yards from the beach on Ranongga Island.

Recovery of Remains
In 2006, villagers discovered the remains of an American with a dog tag "General Preston Douglas, 2960771" buried near the shore of Ranongga Island in the Solomon Islands. The dog tag and remains were found eroding out of the ground near a trail by his village.

The locals have no stories about him and reported their discovery to John Innes who reported it to the Department of Defense (DoD).

During the middle of September 2006, a team from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) recovered his remains. Afterwards, they were identified using dental records and other forensic tool plus circumstantial evidence plus mDNA. Later, he was declared identified by the Department of Defense (DoD) and his status changed to "recovered".

Memorials
After his remains were recovered, Douglas was buried on January 26, 2008 at Gollihon Cemetery in Sneedville, TN next to his sister's grave.

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - General P. Douglas "remains have been recovered"
FindAGrave - S1 General Preston Douglas (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - General Preston Douglas (Gollihon Cemetery)
Thanks to John Innes and Ewan Stevenson for additional information

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