In June 1916 Martinus Stenseth joined the Minnesota National Guard. Despite his age, he was accepted into the United States Air Service in December 1916. Following flight training he was posted to France in October 1917 and assigned to the 28th Aero Squadron in 1918. Flying the SPAD XIII, Stenseth became the highest scoring ace in his squadron and was credited with eight victories in the autumn of 1918. When the war ended, he remained in the army, returning to the United States in 1920. After commanding various pursuit squadrons, he served in the Philippines during the 1930's and was Military Attache to Finland and Latvia in 1940. In 1941, he founded Nellis Air Force Base and served as its commanding officer on two occasions. Following a distinguished career, Stenseth retired from the United States Army Air Force as a Brigadier General in 1947.
Morning World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday, 26 April 1941, page 24
The San Diego Union, San Diego, California, Sunday Morning, 13 June 1943, page 17
The Seattle Times, Seattle, Washington, Wednesday, 2 May 1945, page 10
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Martinus Stenseth, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action over the Argonne Forest, France, October 22, 1918. Lieutenant Stenseth went to the rescue of a French plane attacked by six enemy Fokker planes with twelve additional enemy planes hovering in reserve. Attacking the enemy with vigor, single handed, he drove down and destroyed one enemy plane and put to flight the remainder. His gallant act in the face of overwhelming odds proved an inspiration to the men of his squadron.