Gathering of Eagles Honorary Co-Chairmen

Courtesy graphic

Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr.
Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. is the commander of Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for installation and mission support, discovery and development, test and evaluation, life cycle management services, and sustainment of veritually every major Air Force weapon system.

The command employs approximately 80,000 people and manages $60 billion of budget authority annually.

Bunch was commissioned in 1984 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering. He completed undergraduate pilot training in 1985. He completed operational assignments as an instructor, evaluator and aircraft commander for the B-52 Stratofortress.

Following graduation from the USAF Test Pilot School in 1991, Bunch conducted developmental testing in the B-2 Spirit and B-52, and served as an instructor in each. Additionally, he has commanded at the squadron, group, wing, and center levels. In 1994, he attained a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University Fresno.

Follow on assignments included a 2000 Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

Bunch has had numerous assignments to Edwards, including:

June 2000-July 2002: served as commander of the 419th Flight Test Squadron
January 2006-May 2008: served as commander of the 412th Test Wing
June 2012-June 2015: served as commander of the Air Force Test Center

Bunch assumed command of Air Force Materiel Command in May 2019. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.

Bunch is a command pilot with more than 2,500 hours in the B-52, B-2, KC-135, F-16, T-38 and various other aircraft.
Col. Richard “Rick” Couch, retired
Rick Couch earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M in 1968, a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974, and a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1981.

Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1968, he completed pilot training and then served operational tours in the C-141 and OV-10A.

In 1975, he completed USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and was assigned to the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. There, he flew development testing of the C-141 All Weather Landing System. In 1978, Crouch returned to Edwards as an instructor at the Test Pilot School.

In 1981, he began a tour at Air Force Systems Command where he supported classified flight test activities. After completing the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, he returned to Edwards to command the B-2 Combined Test Force.

He stood up the 1,200-person B-2 CTF, ran initial flight test operations for the aircraft, and planned the B-2 flight test and logistics test operations. In 1989, he flew the B-2 first flight. He then became vice commander of the 6510th Test Wing. In 1990, he became deputy director of the Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile System Program Office.

In 1992, Crouch retired from the Air Force and joined Martin Marietta where he was responsible for integration testing of the National Test Bed at Falcon (now Schriever) Air Force Base, Colo., supporting the Ballistic Missile Defense Program. He then managed the Lockheed Martin Test and Transition organization in Atlanta, Ga., for the BellSouth Business Process Reengineering Integration Office. This included the development of two large computer-based test beds that integrated and tested three large software projects for BellSouth Corporations.

In 1997, Crouch was assigned to manage the Lockheed Martin Information Systems Fort Worth Operations for support equipment and training systems design, development, and production for the F-16, F-2, C-130, F-117 and F-35. In this job, he directed a team of more than 250 Lockheed Martin and subcontractor personnel. In 2005, he joined the Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics team as a business development manager for air mobility programs supporting opportunities for the C-130, C-130J, C-5 and F-16 aircrew and maintenance training programs. In this position, he worked aircrew and maintenance training projects with state Economic Development Organizations in Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Rhode Island, Alabama and Texas. In 2012, he retired from Lockheed Martin.

Rick Crouch and his wife, Ann Nelson, live in Colorado Springs, and they have three grown children.

He stays active as a mission pilot for the Civil Air Patrol, serves on the vestry in his church, and as the chairman on the Advisory Board of the El Paso County Salvation Army. He is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, a lifetime member of the Daedalians, and a member of the Pioneers of Stealth.