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Dr. Gaetano Vincent Amico, “Vince,” a longtime member and advocate of the Orlando Modeling & Simulation community, passed away on February 2, 2016.
A pioneer in military simulation, Vince began his career in military simulation with the Naval Training Device Center in Port Washington, New York. He led the relocation of the activity to Orlando, Florida in 1965 when he was the Director of Engineering, and he continued to help grow the simulation industry in Central Florida. He introduced new digital technology, landmass and sensor simulation and improved visual systems into training devices, resulting in more effective training tools for the warfighter.
Amico was also instrumental in the establishment of the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST) at UCF, and one of the prime movers behind growing the simulation industry nationwide and in Central Florida, developing master’s and PhD programs in simulation at UCF, developing a professional certification program for simulation professionals, and was determined to create a set of industrial classification codes for the simulation industry. He also created the Vince and Beth Amico Scholarship Fund for high school students aspiring to study simulation engineering.
A first generation Italian-American, Vince was born in the Bronx, New York on Oct. 20, 1920. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering in 1941, and earned his Master of Business Administration from Hostra College in 1954.
He later earned a Master of Science in Engineering from Florida Technical University (now UCF) in 1973, and in 2004 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from The University of Central Florida.
Amico worked on the design of naval aircraft as a stress analyst and project stress engineer from 1941 to 1945. In 1945, he entered the Armed Forces Corps of Engineers, and served as the Director of Research of the Center in Orlando, Florida from 1979 to 1981, and was awarded a patent in 1961 for his instrument lighting device.
Throughout the years, he stayed very involved with his industry, receiving the I/ITSEC Lifetime Achievement Award. Amico was the chairman of the very first I/ITSEC, and received the Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS) Presidential Award.
In 2014, he was inducted as a charter member of National Center for Simulation Modeling & Simulation Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida. His plaque was placed on the Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame wall at the Orange County Convention Center for millions of visitors to view.
After his retirement from civil service, Vince was frequently seen at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training System Division (NAWCTSD), visiting with friends and former colleagues, observing the advancement of simulation technology over the years and providing some “coaching” to those engineers and others in the industry. He also worked with the NAWCTSD history committee, given that he had contributed greatly to the development of the technology over his long, honorable career.
Vince Amico will be remembered for a lifetime of dedicated service to the nation in conducting research, engineering, and systems acquisition of simulators for the U.S. Navy, Marines Corps and Army, contributing greatly to their operational readiness by providing superior tools for effective training.
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