A native of Bloomington, IL, Commander Preston Rackauskas attended the United States Naval Academy, class of 2001. There he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering. In May of 2001, he was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy.
He reported for flight training in Pensacola, FL and was winged in September of 2003. He reported to HC-3 in San Diego for training in the MH-60S and was subsequently assigned to the “Providers” of HC-5 in Guam. There he deployed onboard the USS ESSEX (LHD 2), USNS KISKA (T-AE-35), USNS SHASTA (T-AE-33), USNS SAN JOSE (T-AFS 7), and USNS NIAGARA FALLS (T-AFT 3) as the detachment operations officer and assistant Officer-in-Charge.
In 2007, he reported to the “Doerbirds” of VT-2 as a primary flight instructor in the T-34C. During this tour, he earned his master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in acquisition and financial management through the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
Following this instructor tour, he reported to the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73), Yokosuka, Japan, as a Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer. CDR Rackauskas served as the Bow Catapults Branch Officer, Flight Deck Division Officer, and qualified as Assistant Air Officer. During this tour, he completed Joint Professional Military Education I (JPME) requirements and was selected for operational aviation department head.
Following refresher training in the MH-60S, CDR Rackauskas returned to Guam and joined the “Island Knights” of HSC-25. He would serve as the squadron training and maintenance officer and led multiple detachments as the Officer-in-Charge. These detachments included deployments onboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6), USS DENVER (LPD 9), and USNS WASHINGTON CHAMBERS (T-AKE-11) and time shore-based in Brunei, South Korea, and Japan.
He reported to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) in December 2015, and was responsible for reviewing and oversight of financial estimates for the Aircraft Procurement and Research Test and Evaluation accounts for the Department of the Navy. This included budget formulation, justification, execution and supervision of a financial management focused in the areas of aircraft acquisition, modifications support, spare-parts management and the associated RTD&E which supported those procurement efforts.
Prior to assuming the duties as Chief Staff Officer in December 2019, CDR Rackauskas was selected for, and completed, a yearlong Department of Defense Legislative Fellowship with Congressman Peter J. Visclosky.
CDR Rackauskas has accumulated over 2,700 flight hours and has participated in numerous Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief operations to include UNIFIED ASSISTANCE (2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami), BALIKATAN (2006 Leyte landslide), and TOMADACHI (2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami).