(13 July 2012, Bridgeport, CT) Today, Rotair Industries hosted its most unique company picnic ever. In addition to having the traditional summer picnic fare, Rotair also played host to Freedom’s Flying Memorial, a fully restored Sikorsky UH-34D helicopter.
The pilot and crew for this vintage aircraft are from Marine Helicopter Squadron 361 — The Flying Tigers. This outfit was one of the first Marine Corps helicopter squadrons to be deployed to Vietnam in 1963. The Flying Tigers are the second most decorated helicopter squadron in the United States Marine Corps.
They flew to Rotair to say, “Thanks” for Rotair’s support which helped to get “Yankee November One Niner” (YN19) airworthy and back in the air. Wes Harrington, Rotair’s President remarked, “We are thrilled to have The Flying Tigers join us and equally thrilled to be able to share this day with our families and all our guests as we celebrate these veterans’ dedicated service, past and present and the incredible work they undertook to get this aircraft flying again.”
Joining Rotair for the celebration were Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Chief of Police Joe Gaudett, Fire Chief Brian Rooney, Deputy Police Chief Tony Armeno, and Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Porzelt.
Flying in on YN19 were John Sondgeroth (Pilot), Ronald Hatton, Philip Berler, and Alan Weiss (Association President).
Today, Marine Helicopter Squadron 361 is active as a 501(c)(3) non-profit association dedicated to preserving the heritage of the unit and the aircraft, and educating generations for whom Vietnam is a distant memory. For more information about them, visit http://www.34restoration.org/