Born in Upper Michigan in 1961. Graduated with BS in Aviation Management from Western Michigan University in 1984. Rich took up aviation art in the summer of 1980. Since then Rich has produced numerous paintings for museums, military organizations and private individuals. In 1985, he was accepted in to Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in Pensacola, Florida, being commissioned as an Ensign in September of that year. Rich flew the Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk for 5 years, including two long deployments, one of which included 156 hours of combat flying during OPERATION DESERT STORM. Rich left the Navy in 1991, but has stayed in the Reserves, retiring at the rank of Captain in September 2015 after 30 years of service.
In 2001 Rich was asked to help design the Mission patch for STS-107. He also designed the command patch for COMMANDER NAVAL AIR FORCES. He has written ten books on aviation subjects. By far, Rich's most ambitious project to date was as the Executive Director of the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) from 2009-2011. During this time, Rich spearhaeded the Heritage Paint Project, which saw 29 active US Navy aircraft painted in heritage schemes. Rich lives in Weldon Spring Heights, MO, and has two daughters, Allison and Ashley.