Albert Samuel Yesensky was born in Laclede, Idaho, on 3 December 1920, son of Charles John and Katherine (Predni) Yesensky. He attended North Idaho Junior College at Coeur d’Alene, prior to enlisting in the US Naval Reserve on 24 February 1942. He had training at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Seattle, Washington, between May and August 1942, then had flight training, as an Aviation Cadet, at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas. On 15 January 1943 he was designated Naval Aviator. Commissioned Ensign USNR on 1 January 1943, he subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from July 1, 1963, having transferred from the US Naval Reserve to the US Navy on 28 August 1946.
After receiving his “Wings” in 1943, he had pre-operational training at the Naval Air Station, Miami, Florida until March 1943, then had brief instruction (carrier qualification) at the Carrier Qualification Training Unit, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia. In April 1943 he joined Fighter Squadron THIRTY-FOUR and in October of that year transferred to Fighting Squadron THIRTY, operating off USS Monterey and later USS Belleau Wood. He was awarded the Air Medal and Gold Stars in lieu of the Second and Third Air Medals. The citations follow in part:
Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement…during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Western Caroline Islands on March 30, 1944. Participating in a fighter plane sweep over a hostile airfield, (he) shot down one Japanese plane and contributed materially to the success of his Task Group in the completion of its mission…”
Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement…during operations in the Tokyo Area of the Empire of Japan, February 16, 1945. Participating in a rescue combat air patrol over a rescue submarine during the period in which airfields in the Tokyo area were under attack (he) destroyed an enemy plane in aerial combat, thereby maintaining the security of the rescue submarine and contributing materially to the safety of our Task Group…”
Gold Star in lieu of the Third Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement…during action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa, April 6, 1945. Participating in a combat air patrol, (he) pressed home his attack to destroy one enemy fighter of a large group attacking our forces…”
He also received Gold Stars in Lieu of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross for completing thirty combat missions during the period 16 February to 8 June 1945. In addition, he is entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the USS Belleau Wood.
In August 1945 he reported as Personnel Officer with Experimental Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED and in March 1946 he joined Fighting Squadron FIFTY-EIGHT as Administrative Officer. Transferred in October 1946 to Fighting Squadron ONE-L, he served as Maintenance Officer until January 1948, after which he was a student at the Naval School, General Line, Monterey, California. During the period January to March 1949 he had instruction at the Instructors Basic Unit, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, then was a Basic Flight Instructor with Basic Training Unit THREE at the Naval Air Station, Saufley Field, Pensacola. In September 1949 he became a Jet Flight Instructor with Jet Training Unit ONE at the Naval Air Station, Whiting Field, Milton, Florida.
He reported in August 1950 on board USS Princeton, which he served as Aircraft Service Officer and Aircraft Handling Officer. While on board that attack aircraft carrier, he participated in two cruises in the Korean area of hostilities. He received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon and Combat “V”. The citation follows in part: “For meritorious service as Aircraft Service Officer of the USS PRINCETON during the reactivation and training period commencing August 28, 1950 and during sustained operational activities of that vessel with Task Force SEVENTY-SEVEN against enemy North Korean and Chinese Communist forces from December 5, 1950 to August 10, 1951…” He is also entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Navy Unit Commendation awarded the USS Princeton.
In September 1952 he became Officer in Charge of Guided Missile Unit SIXTY-ONE, at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, California. In that capacity, as Sidewinder Flight Test Pilot, he fired the first successful Sidewinder missile, which hit and knocked down a QB-17 drone. From November 1954 until May 1956 he was Executive Officer of Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRERED FORTY-ONE, after which he served as Operations Officer with the Fleet Air Gunnery Unit, Naval Air Station, El Centro, California. In October 1958 he reported for instruction at the Aviation Safety School, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, and January 1959 became Assistant for Material, Operations and Facilities, in the Office of the Coordinator for Aviation Safety, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC. He remained there until August 1960 and the next month joined the Staff of Commander Cruiser Division SEVEN as Air Operations Officer.
In September 1962 he transferred to the Staff of Commander Fleet Air, San Diego, with headquarters at the Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, California, where he served as Readiness and Training Officer. Returning to the Navy Department in June 1964, he served as Assistant Comptroller for Manpower and Field Budgets in the Bureau Naval Weapons until May 1966, when, upon the reorganization of the Navy Department, he assumed similar duty with the Naval Air Systems Command. In September 1966 he reported for instruction at the University of Maryland at College Park and in July 1967 received orders to duty as Commanding Officer of the Naval Station, Midway Island.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with seven Gold Stars, the Commendation Ribbon with Combat “V”, the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with star and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Captain Yesensky had the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with seven stars; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. He also had the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge.