June 19-20, 1974

Helicopter Pioneer Feted

John Sanduski of Oak Park is pictured, above, with a Sikorsky R-4B Helicopter in June 1945, as commander of the U.S. Helicopter Training Base at Sheppard Field, Texas.

John J. Sanduski, LLB, former Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force attended the recent annual meeting of the famous International “Twirly Birds” group in Washington. He was accompanied by his son, John Jr., a student at Oak Park- River Forest High School.

The meeting also marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the “Twirly Birds” of which Sanduski is a former VP and card carrying member. Members in attendance were from various foreign countries, composed of those who piloted helicopters prior to VJ Day.

Sanduski was honored by his fellow “Twirly Birds” for the role he played as commander of the first U.S. Air Force helicopter training base and his pioneering efforts in the development and growth of helicopter usage as we know it today.

A fighter pilot during the early phases of World War II, he is listed among the first 10 helicopter pilots in the U.S.

His son, John Jr., was inducted as an honorary member of the “Twirly Birds”.