Frank Willis Ault was born in Bellaire, Ohio, on August 26, 1921, son of Ralph F. and Della (Hendershot) Ault. He attended Bellaire High School, prior to entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment from his native state in 1939. Graduated and commissioned Ensign with the Class of 1943, on June 19, 1942 (course of instruction reduced to three years due to World War II), he subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from July 1, 1962.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1942, he joined the USS Astoria (CA-34) as Gunnery Officer and while on board that cruiser participated in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings. The Astoria was sunk by heavy gunfire on August 9, 1942, during the Battle of Savo Island. From November 1942 to November 1944 he served in the USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37) and took part in the action of Casablanca, the Norway raid, invasion of Normandy (including the bombardment of Cherbourg) and the invasion of Southern France.
Detached from the Tuscaloosa, he had flight training at various places until May 1946, having been designated Naval Aviator in October 1945. After service as Operations Officer and Executive Officer of Torpedo Squadron Seventy Five and Attack Squadron Four-B, he had special weapons training and was an Instructor in special weapons from January to September 1948, while attached to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Sandia Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He next joined Composite Squadron Five, the Navy’s first atomic bomb delivery squadron, to serve as Operations and Intelligence Officer until March 1951, the reported as Assistant for Air Applications in the Atomic Energy Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC.
Between July and September 1953 he had jet transition training, while attached to Advanced Training Unit Two Hundred, at the Naval Air Advanced Training Command, Corpus Christi, Texas, after which he served as Executive Officer of Attack Squadron Fifty-Five, which operated in the Korean area of hostilities. In June 1954 he joined the Staff of Commander Fleet Air, Alameda, with headquarters at the Naval Air Station, Alameda, California, as Personnel Officer. While there he also commanded the Flag Administration Unit. In March 1955 he assumed command of Attack Squadron Two Hundred Sixteen. In September 1956 he was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department where he was Military Assistant for Nuclear Weapons (Research Division) and Director of Research for Astronautics until August 1958. After instruction at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, DC, he was attached to Carrier Replacement Air Group Four as a Prospective Commanding Officer from June 1959 to March 1960, when he assumed command of Carrier Air Group Ten.
In May 1961 he reported as head of the Space programs Branch in the Astronautics Development Division (later Development Facilities, Astronautics and Ranges Division), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department and in February 1962 became Military Assistant to the Deputy Director (Space) in the Office of Research and Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D,.C. He assumed command of the USS Renville (APA-227) in May 1964 and in June 1965 returned to duty on the staff of Commander Fleet Air, Alameda, this time as Chief Staff Officer.
In February 1966 he became Commanding Officer of the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and is entitled to the Ribbon for and a facsimile of the Navy Unit Commendation awarded that aircraft carrier. He joined the Staff of Commander Naval Air Forces, Pacific in March 1967 and in June, that year, transferred to the Staff of Commander Carrier Division One as Chief of Staff and Aide. In March 1968 he reported for duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and in August 1968 was assigned to the Naval Air Systems Command Headquarters, Washington, DC.
In addition to the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Captain Ault has the Joint Service Commendation Medal; American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two operations stars; European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four stars; World War II Victory Medal; China Service Medal (extended); Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe Clasp; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal; the United Nations service Medal; and the Vietnam Service Medal. He also has the Expert Pistol Shot Medal.