Patrick J. Rich
Patrick J. Rich was born in New York Pasquale Riccio on May 15, 1906, son of the late Nicola and Isabella Coviello Rich. In Rye his family lived at 21 Evergreen Avenue and were members of the Church of the Resurrection. Patrick was a graduate of the Rye school system. He enlisted in U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
He obtained the rank of corporal and was stationed with the Air Corps at Elgin Field , FL.
Much of the base was part of a National Forest until the outbreak of war in Europe when a proving ground for aircraft armament was established at Eglin. The U.S. Forest Service ceded over 340,000 acres of the Choctawhatchee National Forest to the War Department on 18 October 1940.
Eglin Air Force Base evolved from the 1933 creation of the Valparaiso Airport, when an arrowhead-shaped parcel of 137 acres (0.55 km2) was cleared for use as an airdrome.
In 1931, personnel of the Air Corps Tactical School, newly relocated to Maxwell Field, Alabama, sought a location for a bombing and gunnery range. They saw the potential of the sparsely populated forested areas surrounding Valparaiso and the vast expanse of the adjacent Gulf of Mexico.
From October 1941 to October 1945, an AAF Fixed Gunnery School operated at the base, supervised by the 75th Flying Training Wing.
At its peak during World War II, the base employed more than 1,000 officers, 10,000 enlisted personnel and 4,000 civilians.
After the was Patrick never married and was a retired pharmacist.
Patrick "Patsy" Rich, 67, of 21 Evergreen Avenue, died Saturday April 6, 1974 at the United Hospital. Interment was in Greenwood Union Cemetery.
He was survived by three brothers, Joseph Rich of New Rochelle, Frank Rich of upstate New York and Michael Rich of Rye; and two sisters, Bessie Rich of Rye and Mrs. Margaret Woodfin of Richmond, Va.