By Dolly Rairigh Glass

The 2015 member class of the National Center for Simulation (NCS) Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame was honored in an induction ceremony at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) on May 12. More than 200 guests, including Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, as well as several Team Orlando leaders, attended the special event to recognize four pioneers: Asmund S. Laerdal, Lt. Col. Earle L. Denton, USA (Ret), retired Navy SES Henry “Hank” Okraski and Col. James E. Shiflett, USA (Ret).


Each of these M&S pioneers will take their rightful place on the permanent Hall of Fall wall in the South Concourse of the OCCC: (from L to R) the late Asmund Laerdal, represented by Laerdal Medical’s president David Johnson; the late Lt. Col. Earle L. Denton, USA (Ret), represented by his wife, Carol; retired Navy SES Hank Okraski; and Col. James E. Shiflett, USA (Ret).

“The Hall of Fame is just one way we can ensure these industry pioneers take their rightful place in the history of modeling and simulation,” said Lt. Gen. Tom Baptiste (Ret), president and CEO of NCS. “It’s the passion and dedication of these individuals, and others like them, who laid the foundation for the multi-billion dollar simulation industry that now calls Central Florida home.”


Lt. Gen. Tom Baptiste (Ret), president and CEO for NCS, welcomes attendees and special guests at the Hall of Fame induction.

The partnership and support of Orange County Government, including Mayor Jacobs, and the OCCC has been an important step in helping to establish the physical site of the Hall of Fame. In their efforts to highlight the MS&T community, they now showcase the Hall of Fame wall in the South Concourse. The wall also features continuous video feeds explaining the history and capabilities of the modeling and simulation industry and Team Orlando.

Next month will be one year that Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation Commander Col. Bradley Crites joined the Team Orlando community. Crites, along with his wife, Kristy, attended the Hall of Fame event and said, “To hear the stories from the inductees, these pioneers of the M&S community, was inspiring and re-invigorating, re-enforcing that our current vector is on target.”


AFAMS Commander Col. Bradley Crites, and his wife, Kristy, attended the ceremony. Crites said it was an inspiring event.

With 2014 as the inaugural year for the Hall of Fame, there are now a total of 14 members. Along with the wall at OCCC, there is also a special Hall of Fame area established on the NCS website that will continue to grow and expand, in an effort to not only recognize the inductees, but also to serve as a resource for modeling and simulation history.

The 2015 inductees are:

    • Lt. Col. Earle L. Denton, USA (Ret), who passed away in March, was well known and loved by the community, and left behind a legacy of lifetime service to the Simulation and Training industry that resulted in relevant and effective training systems that directly impacted our Soldiers’ preparation for battlefield missions.
    • The late Asmund S. Laerdal, founder of Laerdal Medical, had a life-long devotion to innovative medical simulation and training, and pioneered medical simulation in the late 1950’s with the creation of the Resusci Anne manikin. His early simulation permanently changed the way medical training is conducted.
    • Retired Navy SES Henry “Hank” Okraski helped to lead the initiative to relocate the Navy’s training command to Research Park in 1988, served as Chief Scientist for today’s Naval Air Warfare Center Training Services Division, and through his leadership as the Chairman of the NCS Education and Workforce Development Committee and their work, developed an M&S curriculum for high school students for entry level and intern positions in the simulation industry.
    • It was the vision and leadership of Col. James E. Shiflett, USA (Ret) that culminated in the development of Distributed Interactive Simulation standards. His early work at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office and subsequently as program manager for Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, paved the way for linking disparate simulation systems for combined arms training.

To learn more about the National Center for Simulation Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame, its members or how to make a nomination, visit

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