Sam Davis Presley, born at Carthage, Miss., 17 December 1918, enlisted in the Navy 7 November 1939. On 30 September 1942 he became Aviation Machinist’s Mate first class. He received the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, 26 October 1942. As his ship Enterprise, came under sustained enemy air attack, Aviation Machinist’s Mate First Class Presley voluntarily abandoned the shelter of his normal battle station. Climbing into a plane parked on the flight deck, he manned the flexible guns in the rear cockpit and commenced an effective fire against the attacking aircraft. As the battle continued, a bomb explosion blew the plane overboard. AMI Presley was listed as “missing in action,” and presumed dead 27 October 1943.
(DE–371: dp. 1,745 (f.); l. 306’0”; b. 36’7”; dr. 13’4”; s. 24 k.; cpl. 222; a. 2 5”, 6 40mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 3 21” tt.; cl. John C. Butler)
Presley (DE–371) was laid down by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., Orange, Tex., 6 June 1944; launched 19 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Willie Lynn Presley; and commissioned 7 November 1944, Lt. Comdr. Richard S. Paret, USNR, in command.
After shakedown off Bermuda, Presley transited the Panama Canal 24 January 1945 and proceeded to Pearl Harbor for further training. She arrived at Noumea 22 March, and departed 3 May to escort a group of transports to Leyte Gulf. She subsequently touched at Manus, Saipan, and Ulithi before making two trips to Okinawa. The end of the war found her anchored in Ulithi Harbor.
On 19 September Presley proceeded to Guam for duty, making two trips to Truk where she served as harbor patrol and station ship pending the occupation of that enemy post by U.S. forces. On 5 November the ship was ordered to the United States to be placed in an inactive status. Presley decommissioned 20 June 1946, and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet berthed at San Diego. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 30 June 1968.