Marcus H. Esterly was born on June 30, 1891, and enrolled in the US Naval Reserve Force (Naval Reserve Flying Crops, Class 5) on January 25, 1918. Commissioned Ensign, USNRF, shortly thereafter, he subsequently advanced in rank to Lieutenant (junior grade) in 1919, and to Lieutenant in 1920.
After a period of instruction under the supervisor of the Naval Reserve Flying Crops, in Washington, DC, he was assigned to the Bureau of Steam Engineering, Navy Department, Washington, where he remained on duty until after Armistice, which concluded hostilities of World War II. In May 1919, he had brief duty in connection with the NC Flying Boats, being attached to the NC-5, which did not attempt the trans- Atlantic flight with the NC-1, NC-3 and NC-4 that month, and in July, that year also served briefly at the Naval Air Station, Hampton Roads, and Virginia.
In August 1919 he returned to the Bureau of Steam Engineering, Navy Department, and served there until April 1920, when in the rank of Lieutenant, he again reported to the Naval Air Station, Hampton Roads. From there he was ordered to London, England, for duty in connection with the Navy dirigible R-36 (ZR-2), and January 1921 he was transferred to the Naval Airship Detachment, Royal Air Force Base, Howden, England, from which the ZR-2 made her trial tests.
Lieutenant Esterly was killed on August 24, 1921, when the ZR-2, on her last trail flight before being turned over to the US Navy by the British Government, carshed near Hull, England. He was survived by his wife, Martha E. Esterly.
Lieutenant Esterly had the Victory Medal for World War I service.