Joe Henry Ausley, Jr., was born in Roe, Arkansas, on September 15, 1935, son of Joe H. and Edith (White) Ausley. He attended Southern State College, Magnolia, Arkansas, prior to enlisting in the US Naval Reserve on April 6, 1955. As an Aviation Cadet, he had flight training and on June 1, 1956 was designated Naval Aviator and Commissioned Ensign. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Commander, to date from October 1, 1969, having transferred from the US Naval Reserve to the US Navy in September 1960.
After receiving his commission in 1956, he had further instruction at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida. In July 1958 he joined Attack Squadron One Hundred twenty Five as Pilot and Instructor and from January to July 1959 was Pilot and Landing Signal Officer with Attack Squadron Two Hundred Sixteen. He next served, in a similar capacity, with Attack Squadron One Hundred Ninety Two and in May 1960 transferred to Carrier Air Group Nineteen as Landing Signal Officer. In September 1962 he reported as Flight Instructor and Landing Signal Officer of Heavy Attack Squadron One Hundred Twenty Three.
From February 1964 to March 1966, he was a student at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science. In March 1966 he joined the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), which deployed to the Western Pacific in January 1967, to serve as Ordnance and Gunnery Officer. Assigned temporary additional duty with the US Air Force, he flew fifty three missions as Forward Air Controller in the Vietnam area of hostilities. Detached from that attack aircraft carrier in September 1967, he was administrative, Safety and Maintenance Officer with Reconnaissance Attack Squadron Eleven.
In January 1970 he returned to the Naval Postgraduate School for instruction and received as Master’s Degree in Computer Systems Management in June 1971. He was then assigned as Deputy Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations for Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Matters.
Commander Ausley has the Air Medal with Numeral 10; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”; Air Force Commendation Medal; Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star in lieu of the Second similar award; Combat Action Ribbon; Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with two Gold Stars in lieu of additional awards; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.