Rick Couch graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and entered the Air Force in 1968. He received his wings in 1969 and was assigned to the 20th Military Airlift Squadron in Dover,Del, flying the C-141. In 1972, as part of the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, he flew 199 combat missions in Southeast Asia as a forward air controller in an OV-10.
After graduation from the Air Force Test Pilot School in Class 75A,Couch was assigned to the 4950th Test Wing at Wright Patterson AFB,where he flew test missions developing the all weather landing system for the C-141,and other research and development projects in the C-141 and T-37. In 1978, he returned to Edwards AFB as a Test Pilot School Instructor.
In 1985, Couch became the first commander of the B-2 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB. He oversaw development of the B-2 Test Support Facility and building of a test force of over 1,200 people. Couch was the Air Force pilot on the maiden flight of the B-2, and he participated in all early development activities of the stealth bomber. He was later assigned as the Test Wing Vice Commander at Edwards AFB, then as Deputy Director of the Tri-service Standoff Attack Missile System Program Office at Wright-Patterson.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1992, Couch joined Martin Marietta,now Lockheed Martin, where he manages a team that designs,develops and produces support equipment and training systems for the F-16 and F-22 in Fort Worth,Tx.