was born at Falmouth, Maine on August 15, 1761 and began his career at
the age of sixteen when he ran away to sea on a privateer. Two years
later, he was appointed a midshipman on the frigate Protector and
fought two engagements before being captured in 1781. The following
year, after his release, he became First Lieutenant on the cruiser
Winthrop. While on this ship Preble earned a reputation for undaunted
courage and presence of mind. In one mission he led a boarding party in
the capture of an anchored British brig at Castine, Maine, and escaped
with her under hostile shore fire.
After the Revolutionary War, Preble remained in the merchant service.
He was appointed a First Lieutenant in the United States Navy in April
of 1798, and ordered the following January to command the brig
Pickering of the U.S. Revenue Marine. The Pickering sailed in the
squadron of Commodore Barry, protecting American commerce against
French privateers in the West Indies.
Commissioned a Captain on 7 June 1799, he took command of the new
frigate Essex in December, and sailed from New York in January 1800 to
afford protection to American vessels engaged in China and Eastern
trade. During this cruise Preble had the honor of being the first naval
officer to fly the American flag east of the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1803 on board his flagship, USS CONSTITUTION, Preble
the Barbary pirates as Commodore of a seven-ship, thousand-man
squadron. In October of that year he established a peace treaty with
the Emperor of Morocco, and then effected a blockade of the harbor of
Tripoli. Preble and his Tripolitan campaign became one of the focal
points for the development of the fighting tradition of the U.S. Navy.
Not satisfied with a passive blockade, Preble attacked the harbor,
which was well-fortified and defended by 25,000 men. In a series of
daring raids, Preble's men caused severe damage and inflicted heavy
causalities, a direct result of strenuous training and bold thinking.
Preble's influence extended not only to events of his time, but also to
the later successes of Stephen Decatur, William Bainbridge, Charles
Stewart, Isaac Hull, and David Porter, all of whom served under his
command at Tripoli. In 1804 Preble returned to the United States to
supervise the construction of gunboats. He died a few years later on
August 25, 1807.
Gold and dark blue are the
traditional colors associated with the Navy. Commodore Prebles attack
and bombardment of the harbor at Tripoli in 1803 during his campaign
against Barbary pirates is recalled by the embattlement and rayonny
scarlet chief representing the fire and destruction he rained on the
port. Scarlet symbolizes courage and Commodore Prebles fiery resolve
and determination to end attacks upon American trading vessels in the
region. The ships sail further recalls his successful attack and
blockade of Tripoli and refers to his other distinguished U.S. Navy
commands, particularly of the USS Constitution and the frigate Essex.
The head of the lion is derived from the Preble family coat of arms and
symbolizes courage and strength. The crossed cutlass and sword
represent combat and the readiness, past and present, to defend United
States interests. Argent, or silver, signifies integrity, gold denotes
The Crest: The
eight battle stars
earned by USS
Preble (DD 345) for World War II service are recalled by the points of
the compass rose and by the laurel wreath, which signifies honor. The
compass rose indicates worldwide capabilities and service of the new
Preble and its predecessors. The blue escutcheon, in the shape of the
radar cover panel used on Aegis vessels, represents the advanced
technology and weapons systems of the new ship. It is charged with a
cinquefoil, recalling the five previous ships to honorably bear the
name Preble. Argent, or silver, denotes integrity and valor, gold
The colors used, blue and
gold, represent the United States Navy.