The ATCA Annual Safety Award: Formerly the George W. Kriske Award

George Kriske was born in 1911 in Rochester, N.Y. He served in the US Army from 1930-1937 and joined the Bureau of Air Commerce as a Junior Radio Operator assigned to the Airway Communications Station in Ardmore, Okla., and subsequently worked as a relief radio operator throughout the southwestern United States. In 1939 he became interested in air traffic control, which was still in its infancy, and went to work in the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center.

During World War II he served as Chief Controller at Fort Worth Center and in the Oklahoma and Tulsa Control Towers as a controller and instructor. He then put in a two-year tour of duty as the Civil Aeronautics Administration Liaison Officer to Headquarters Strategic Air Command USAF in Omaha, Neb., where he was assigned to the Staff of General Curt LeMay. While in this post he was assigned to the United Kingdom and Western Europe to survey the air ground and air traffic capabilities of the various countries operating North Atlantic Air Traffic Control systems to determine if they could satisfactorily handle the world-wide deployment of Strategic Air Command Aircraft.

In 1965 he moved to FAA Headquarters and was chief of the air traffic service evaluation staff until his retirement in 1967 with over 37 years of government service. He then served with distinction as president of the Air Traffic Control Association, giving up the post in 1971 due to poor health. He earned his pilots wings in 1942 and held single and multi-engine and instrument ratings with over 2,500 hours of flight time. He also held a commercial pilot certificate.

George Kriske was a humble, kind man of great stature who devoted his life to the ATC profession. He had an outstanding career which added to the quality, safety and efficiency of air traffic control and in recognition of this ATCA established the George W. Kriske Memorial Award upon his death in 1974.
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