A ceremony at 2 p.m., Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, will see the dedication of a UH-1 Huey helicopter by Kent County Chapter 850, Vietnam Veterans of America.
The chapter acquired the aircraft last November and has been readying it to be displayed above the Vietnam Memorial at the Kent County Veterans Memorial Park on South Little Creek Road, Dover.
“This will be a great day not only for our chapter, but for every Vietnam veteran in the state,” said Joe Startt Jr., Chapter 850 president. “The Huey and its crews are responsible for saving thousands of lives in Vietnam, including my own.”
The keynote speaker will be John R. Sabanosh Sr., a Vietnam “dustoff” (medevac) crew chief and pilot who served in Vietnam from 1969-70. More than 1,000 dustoff pilots and crew were killed in action. Their slogan was So Others May Live.
Sabanosh enlisted in the Army in August 1968 and trained as a Huey helicopter mechanic; he later applied for flight training at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga. He was assigned to the 45th Medical Co. (AA) as a dustoff crew chief who later flew in more than 1,000 missions in hostile environments, rescuing wounded from the battlefield. He was shot down five times.
Credited with saving the lives of more than 350 Americans in addition to Vietnamese soldiers, civilians, and even enemy troops, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, 14 Air Medals, an Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal, and a Presidential Commendation.
Following military service, Sabanosh served as a police officer in New Jersey in municipality, county and state capacities for 30 years, including traffic crash response, reconstruction, engineering, and training and investigation roles.
Now a consultant in those areas, he travels throughout the country for private companies and government agencies. He resides in Bishopville, Md., with his wife Gail. They have four adult children.
The rain date will be 2 p.m., Saturday, May 31. Go to www.DelawareVVA.com for more information on the Huey.