Vice Admiral Preston Cole was an officer in the UNSC Navy, serving during both the insurrection and the war with the Covenant. He enlisted as a non-commissioned recruit into the UNSC Navy in 2488, impressing his superiors and getting recommended for Officer Candidate School in 2489. He was Second Lieutenant aboard the UNSC Las Vegas during the Callisto Incident, taking command of the ship and saving the crew after the entire bridge crew was killed due to insurrectionist actions. After this he gained command of the UNSC Gorgon, where he became involved in a scandal that lost him his command and put him behind a desk.
Cole remained in a desk job until the start of the Human-Covenant War, where he was asked to take command of a fleet being sent to push back against the Covenant. His actions helped win several battles against Covenant fleets, though at a heavy cost. Cole finally died during the Battle of Psi Serpentis, where he used the nearby gas giant to eliminate the entire Covenant fleet and himself in the process.