By Dolly Rairigh Glass

team-orlando-logoEvery two or three years, it is a normal expectation to see leadership changes for the military commands that make up Team Orlando. This summer will be an extra busy one, as they each welcome new leaders. With each new leader comes a different perspective and sometimes a new direction, and so begins a new chapter for Team Orlando.

On May 13, at a change of charter ceremony for the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), Dr. James T. Blake handed over responsibility to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Maddux, in a ceremony officiated by The Honorable Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)).

Maddux comes to PEO STRI from Washington, D.C., where he was assistant military deputy to ASA(ALT). Immediately after the ceremony, Shyu retired Blake after 38 years of combined military and civilian service.

Capt. Steven Nakagawa will relinquish command to Capt. Wes Naylor, as commanding officer of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) and Naval Support Activity Orlando during a change of command ceremony on June 20, 2014. Nakagawa will retire from the Navy following 28 years of honorable service.

Replacing Naylor as the new Executive Officer will be Capt. Erik O. Etz. Etz was the Director of Test & Evaluation of F-35 Naval Variants at VX-23 at NAS Patuxent River, serving as the senior military lead for the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF). In April 2014, Etz detached from the ITF and joined the leadership team at NAWCTSD.

NAWCTSD is the Navy’s source for a full range of innovative products and services that provide complete training solutions. This includes requirements analysis, design, development and full life cycle support.

The Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation (AFAMS) welcomes their new Commander, Col. Brad “Critter” M. Crites, who previously served as the Deputy Director of Operations for the 12th Air Force at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona, on June 13. Crites replaced Col. Franz “Baron” Plescha, who retired May 23 following a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force.

AFAMS is a Field Operating Agency (FOA) for Headquarters Air Force Director of Plans and Operations, the Air Force’s top-level Live, Virtual, and Constructive Operational Training (LVC-OT) policy implementation,
integration and support agency.

Colonel (Select) Walt Yates, USMC, will relieve Daniel Torgler as the MARCORSYSCOM Program Manager for Training Systems (PM TRASYS) in a Change of Charter Ceremony tentatively planned for the end of June or the beginning of July 2014. Yates previously served as the Modeling & Simulation Project Officer at PM TRASYS.

Torgler has been serving as the Acting PM TRASYS since Col. Michael Coolican’s reassignment as the Director, Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate in December 2013. The PM TRASYS staff said they look forward to working with Colonel (Select) Yates once again.

As the training systems acquisition arm for the Marine Corps, PM TRASYS improves the warfighting effectiveness of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and globally deployed maritime expeditionary forces by providing training support, and developing and sustaining training systems and devices.

Col. Matthew Clarke, Commander for the U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC), will retire in early July and his replacement Col. Gary Laase, Director for AFA(ALT) Forward Operations Kabul, Afghanistan, will arrive in mid-August.

STTC is a division of the U.S. Army’s Research Laboratory’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate, and conducts simulation and training research and development to enhance Warfighter effectiveness. They research, develop, mature and transition innovative technology that benefits Soldiers.

No matter where the mission takes our country’s Warfighters, their training and preparation is touched by the Central Florida modeling and simulation industry. Team Orlando, formed by these U.S. leading military simulation commands, working alongside academic institutions, industry and other government agencies and organizations, is driving technology solutions and making the most of collaborative, collocated relationships and resources. A unique working relationship amongst its members, it is an undeniable national treasure that is not duplicated anywhere in the world.

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