I have a book that was given to me as a child titled "Flying windmills: the story of the helicopter", published in 1953. The book was written for the youth market and there is not much on WWII other than the dates that each of the services adopted the helicopter.
The Navy adopted the XR-4 helicopter in the early months of 1943 and by October began training of pilots and mechanics as the Coast Guard Air Station, Floyd Bennett Field, NY. None of the helicopters adopted by the Navy in WWII were every put to use in combat operations.
The Coast Guard was very aggressive in adopting the helicopter because of its utility in rescue operations, especially at sea. Commander Frank A. Erickson was the Coast Guard's advocate for adopting the helicopter and became the Coast Guard's first helicopter pilot. Later the Coast Guard established a helicopter development group at Elizabeth City, North Carolina and Erickson was placed in charge of the unit. One of Erickson's early inventions was the hydraulic hoist for pulling rescued persons aboard the aircraft. It worked so well that it became standard helicopter rescue equipment for all of the services. In the winter of 1943-44, a Coast Guard R-4 helicopter carried vital blood plasma from New York city to the New Jersey coast during a raging snowstorm to aid members of the Destroyer Turner which had exploded off the coast.
The Coast Guard has a good biography on Erickson at: http://www.uscg.mil/...sonFrankBio.asp
Edited by ehrentitle, 16 March 2012 - 04:40 PM.