From Steve Vermillion – official Obituary to follow when published
For those DUSTOFF folks on my FB page that haven’t heard, John Sabanosh, crewchief of Hover Lover 66-16431 flew west yesterday morning. John fought Lymphoma for a year, got the green light he was in remission and shortly thereafter, the disease came back in the form of a skin cancer and then launched another attack in its original form. John fought the disease(s) as we would expect any warrior to do. John was one of 3400 volunteers during the Vietnam War to fly aeromedical evacuation helicopters. I flew with John and had the ultimate trust in him and that says a lot when decisions are made in the heat of battle based solely on trust. The last 20 years or so John was life time member of the Vietnam DUSTOFF Association and served tirelessly as a valued board member for many years. I will miss him deeply as friend, fellow warrrior and awesome crewchief. John’s legacy was to give others a second chance at life by putting own life on line to help save them. That’s the true measure of a DUSTOFF crewmember
The heavens opened to welcome a hero. On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, retired Madison Police Sergeant and a proud U.S. Army Veteran of the UH-1 Huey Medical Evacuation Helicopter known as “Dustoff”, John Robert Sabanosh, Sr., passed away peacefully with his wife and family by his side after complications from Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma related to Agent Orange Vietnam.
To his family and to everyone who was privileged enough to know John, he was considered a true hero, a fighter, and a warrior. He was passionate of his religious beliefs and a Mason. He impacted so many lives by simply being who he was; a charismatic man who was so charming, fun-loving, friendly and always full of life. He made the world a better place and he will be deeply missed by so many. John’s legacy was to give other’s a second chance at life by sacrificing his own life to save others.
John grew up in Pequannock, New Jersey and enlisted in the United States Army and volunteered for Army Aviation. Following rigorous combat and aviation skills training, he was deployed to South Vietnam. John served as a UH-1 Helicopter mechanic with the 45th Medical Company in Long Binh in maintenance of the UH-1 “Huey” medical evacuation helicopters. He soon served as a Crew Chief on a Huey Medical Evacuation Helicopter known as “Dustoff”. Following combat fight training, he became a Crew Chief, flying lifesaving combat missions with Huey hoists over jungle canopy and saving American lives under enemy fire. John received many honors for his service including the National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Bronze Star, 14 Air Medals, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
John was a lifetime member of the Vietnam Dustoff Association where he served for many years as a trusted board member coordinating annual reunions across the United States to bring his fellow Dustoff crewmembers together. His bonding with his fellow crewmembers lasted more than fifty years. John was also passionate in serving veterans through his membership and involvement with the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 850, where he played a key role in displaying a UH-1 Helicopter at the Kent County Veterans Memorial Park in Dover, Delaware.
Following his military career, John was hired by the East Hanover Police Department in New Jersey where he served for five years. On March 14, 1978, John began his devoted life-long career when he was hired by the Madison Police Department where he protected and loyally served the beautiful community of Madison for twenty-five years. John was promoted from Patrolman to Traffic Safety Sergeant (Badge #72). John was so proud to be a police officer for the Madison Police Department and never forgot his brothers in blue. John retired from law enforcement in 2002 and relocated to Eastern Shore Maryland.
He had so many great accomplishments, but those from his family were among his most treasured. John was an incredible husband, father and grandfather. John was predeceased by his mother, Gloria Sabanosh; his father, Milton Sabanosh; and his sister, Nancy Sabanosh. He is survived by his beloved wife, Gail Sabanosh; his son John Sabanosh, Jr.; his son Christopher Sabanosh; his daughter Kristy Kiehl; his daughter Dawn Braun; his son-in-law’s Alan Braun, Charles Kiehl; his daughter-in-law Sarah Sabanosh; his six grandchildren: Zachary, Jared, Trey, Christopher, Kayla and Anikka; his sister Anne-Marie Parr; his niece Bonnie Parr; his nephew Justin Parr, and many dear friends.
His family and friends will always honor John as their hero for his bravery, dedication and leadership, “So Other’s May Live”. He will forever be remembered, cherished and loved for the incredible impact he made on the countless lives he touched. A light has gone out in this world, but the love John gave will shine forever. John will always be there, by our side and in our hearts, “Until We Meet Again”.
Family and friends are kindly invited to attend the visitation held at the Holloway Funeral Home, 501 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, MD 21804 on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 1:00pm-2:00pm, and a Service at 2:00pm–3:00pm, EST, followed by a Repass.