|Birth: ||Dec. 13, 1954|
South Dakota, USA
|Death: ||Sep. 12, 1994|
Richard Allen 'Rick' Kriege was born in Winner, South Dakota on December 13, 1954. He was the son of Lawrence R. Kriege (1924-2008), who was a Bronze Star and Purple Heart Veteran of WWII (Find A Grave Memorial #65062306).
'Rick' was the talented Chief Mechanic that worked tirelessly on the 1994 recovery expedition of the B-29 known as 'Kee Bird' that had been abandoned on the Artic tundra in Greenland for 47 years. He was
the single most important person in the whole expedition, being able to improvise repairs and working with the crew 15 - 18 hours each day.
In late 1994, when almost successful in their task of refitting the bomber with new engines and control surfaces in an attempt to fly the airplane out of the Artic for further restoration, Rick weakened and became sick due to internal injuries that he had tried to work thru. By the time he was finally flown back to medical care, his condition was critical, and he died on September 12, 1994 of a pulmonary embolism in a hospital near Montreal, Canada after surgery for a ruptured spleen, with complications from polycythemia vera (a rare blood disease where the body creates an overabundance of red blood cells), at just the age of 39.
As if that were not tragic enough, when the remaining members returned 9 months later to fly out the 'Kee Bird', they rushed the final take-off prep, and the B-29 caught fire while still on the ground and was destroyed. The whole expedition is documented in a PBS 'Nova' Program entitled "B-29 - Frozen in Time" that first aired January 30, 1996.
He was survived by his wife Irene, his daughter Hallie, and his parents. A sister, Karen Lynn Kriege, preceded him in death.
Lawrence Kriege (1924 - 2008)
Maintained by: Dave & Joyce Humphrey
Originally Created by: David
Record added: Nov 24, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 101232507