Lieutenant Colonel Earl Denton - US Army

LTC Denton is recognized as an excellent example of a person who cares about his family, his community, his state and his nation. A Decorated combat wounded war hero, this short narrative could fill a book about one of America’s greatest generation heroes. He was a member of many boards, associations, community and veteran’s organizations. He always provided structure, focus and perspective to the organizations he supported. He developed contact in all areas of the state and the community to make the community a better place.

As Orange County Mayor Jacobs stated ” We honor his lifetime of service, his heroism on the field of battle, his visionary leadership and his unwavering commitment to his family”.

LTC Denton had a distinguished military career that resulted in numerous awards and decorations. He was as he would say a “survivor” of Pork Chop Hill in Korea whereas others describe him as a “hero”. As General SLA Marshall said in his book Pork Chop Hill “Denton was the right man at the right time for the job.” Lt Denton and 14 enlisted men held off several companies of Chinese soldiers trying to retake the hill. He called for an artillery barrage on top of his own bunker to clear off the attacking enemy. (General S.L.A. Marshall was a chief U.S. Army combat historian during World War II and the Korean War. He authored some 30 books about warfare, including “Pork Chop Hill: The American Fighting Man in Action,” which was made into a film of the same name). He led a Battalion in Vietnam which completed all missions assigned.

Because of this experience he wanted today’s combat troops to have the best training they can get and was a strong voice in the Modeling and Simulation technological focus. He was a mentor, leader and friend to all within the Modeling and Simulation community and was influential in growing the Army presence here in the State of Florida which has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry and a cornerstone of our State’s technology corridor.

Earle Denton was a mentor to both military and civilian contacts helping them with their career development applying his expertise as a General Officer Assignment Officer in the Pentagon and especially assisting professional women trying to break the glass ceiling in the Modeling and Simulation Industry. His day to day conversation never focused on the negative of how did we get in this mess but always what needs to be done to fix it.

He has been a role model of integrity and dedication throughout his entire public service career embedded in his employment or his volunteer efforts. Earle Denton has left a mark on all military associated organizations and unparalleled civic involvements keeping focus on the organizational objectives and not being involved for personal gain. He was a true Patriot with love of his county, his state, his nation.

Military Record He served in a variety of war and peace command assignments in Rifle and Tank Companies, Cavalry Troops from Platoon Leader and Company Commander L Co 31st Inf, 7th Div. On April 15,1953 let the 3rd Pit L 31st Inf Regt in the first effort to reinforce Pork Chop Hill which had been overrun by the communists. This effort was terminated with considerable loss of men and equipment. The next 3 days he was given Command of Co L and returned to Pork Chop Hill to reinforce and defend the hill until the battle was over and the Communists withdrew. For his actions, he was awarded and on the spot promotion to 2st LT the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action and the Purple Heart for wounds received in the action. He commanded 1st Bn 18th Infantry in Central Vietnam in Warzone “C”.

He conducted search and seal missions, which resulted in the capture of considerable North Vietnamese personnel, weapons, and supplies. He served on staffs with postings in CONUS Korea, Europe, and Vietnam. Awards and decorations received include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit (OLC) Purple Heart, Air Medals (4) Commendation Medal (3 OLC) Army Good Conduct Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge (2 awards). Secretary of the Army assigned him the distinction of being a Distinguished Member of the Eighteenth Infantry Regiment. He was inducted in the OCS Hall of Fame at Ft Benning GA. Class of 75 of West Point designated “a Friend of West Point”.

LTC Denton was instrumental in developing a local Florida chapter of the Association of U S Army (AUSA) “The voice of the Army. The “Sunshine Chapter” is an award winning chapter that wins national recognition without having an Active Army Post in the area. The chapter supports the local National Guard and Army Reserve units. His leadership support over the years is now recognized by naming an award in his name to personnel for having demonstrated allegiance and superior support to the soldier, the Sunshine Chapter and The Army Community in Florida. He was also an active member in the National Defense Industrial Association, Army Aviation Association of America, National Training and Simulation Association, Women in Defense and Navy League local chapters. He started Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter in Orlando in early 70s.

Education and Training Accomplishments:

  • Officer Candidate School Ft Benning graduated and commissioned 2nd Lt June 1952
  • US Army Armor School Ft Knox KY graduated June 1959
  • Command and General Staff College, Ft Leavenworth, KS graduated June 1964
  • University of Alabama BS Industrial Relations, graduated June 1969
  • US Army Management Engineering 1974
  • University of Alabama MBA graduated 1979
  • DoD Corporate Ethics Training, 1993 and 1996
  • US Army War College National Security Seminar 2006

Professional and Employment History

  • USAF 1948-1951
  • USA 1951-1973
  • 1975 Office Manager with Baum and Simmermon Attorneys
  • 1978-2011 Supported several Modeling and Simulation (M&S) companies usually as Vice President doing Business Development. It started with SAIC to help with training course development then joined Ford Aerospace to develop tank crew training followed by Loral when it bought Ford Aerospace. After Loral he took a position with Eagle Technology and worked on their 6.4 Research and Technology program in Modeling and Simulation. He was sought by Cubic Corporation Defense Systems Division to begin work on the US Army’s Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), better known to combat troops as “MILES Gear” MILES is an advanced simulation system worn by the military to simulate gun fire and evaluate its results in a non-lethal environment. Earle retired from Cubic but was sought out by ICON Systems to continue MILES development which was bought by SAIC from which he retired for good then in 2011. He was regarded as an icon of the industry. He was awarded the Interservice/ Industry Training Simulation (l/ITSEC) and Education Conference Lifetime Achievement Award which is given sparingly to members who have dedicated themselves in support of IITSEC objectives and goals over three decades of conferences. He was influential in keeping the conference in Orlando increasing Convention Revenue. In 2015 he was Inducted in the M&S Hall of Fame displayed in OCCC South Hall.

Summary of Veteran Advocacy

LTC Denton was one of the original founding members of the Central Florida Veterans, Inc,. The CFVI is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to bring together the organizations that promote community development that represents veterans from all branches. As Senior Vice President and Board member he was charged with the coordinating the 103 veterans’ organizations that made up the CFVI. LTC Denton was the liaison officer within the Central
Florida Community. The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs states there are almost 400,000 military veterans in the seven counties surrounding Orlando.

A key project was the building of a new Community/Veterans Park on Lake Baldwin Near the VA Clinic. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer donated the land for this park which was damaged by the four hurricanes of 2004. Through LTC Denton resources, heavy equipment was brought in to clean it up and there are now numerous memorials located there.

VA Hospital Orlando. LTC Denton was hospitalized in the VA Hospital in the Tampa area and was spurred into getting one located in the Orlando area. He along with Col Joe Kittinger and SSGT Bill Coleman and CFVI President Dr Neil Euliano met with the US Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principe to plead the case for the 400,000 veterans living and working in Central Florida. The group asked for 750 million dollars to fund the project and asked the Secretary to request, from President Bush, the necessary funding to complete the project. LTC Denton provided the statistics for the request stating that Central Florida was the number one destination for combat veterans, the number one destination for veterans over the age of 65, and Number two destination for all veterans. Additionally, he was one of two civilian community leaders assigned to work with government employees to lay out the logistics for the new hospital, special needs and equipment requirements for each room, laboratory, maintenance, and equipment areas. This hospital was to be collocated with the new Medical School at the University of Central Florida which anchored the Medical City being developed. He served on the VA Hospital Board. The hospital official flag raising occurred just days before LTC Denton’s death.

Central Florida Veteran Memorial Park Foundation, Inc, a nonprofit 501 C(3), was started to enlist community participation in the acquisition of land, architectural design and maintenance of the multimillion dollar memorial park at the new hospital in Lake Nona and to pass on ur heritage on to the future. Earle served as Vice Chairman. This memorial list the names of Central Florida warriors who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It overlooks a tranquil lake and is a short walk to the campus chapel and assisted living facility. The foundation provides perpetual maintenance of this facility and hosts special memorial events. He supported the annual Veterans Day Parade, Memorial Park Celebrations, and was often a guest speaker at many events honoring Veterans.

Civic Activities

  • Orange Count Mayor’s Advisory Committee. This committee was formed to assist community elected officials in communicating with the many different veteran organizations. A ceremony is celebrated each Memorial Day at the County Courthouse. Earle led the committee in several capacities over the years as chair and on the board. He was also a member of the City of Orlando Veterans Committee.
  • Orange County Sheriff. He served as a Director on Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary Citizen Advisory Counsel and subsequently on Sheriff Jerry L. Demings Counsel for 20 years. He was appointed Orange County Sheriff Honorary Deputy Sheriff and a Certificate of Appreciation awarded.
  • Along with Judge Tony Johnson LTC Denton started a Lawyers for Warriors legal support system for Middle East deployed military that was subsequently passed on to Stetson Law School in 2014.

LTC Denton was a member of the Veterans Advisory Council for Senator Mel Martinez and Congressmen Tom Feeney, Ric Keller, Sandy Adams, and John Mica. While fully employed LTC Denton served on numerous Orange County Boards and special assignments: Including: 

  • President of Orange County Homeowners Association of Associations 1997, 
  • Community Conference team 1995, 
  • Mission, Membership and Review Board 1998, 
  • Citizen Advisory Committee for Metroplan Orlando 1999-2003, 
  • Tower Ordinance Development Commission, Plan Review and Inspection Task Force, Planning and Zoning Commission 1999- 2004, 
  • Census Redistricting Team 2000, 
  • Charter Review Commission 2012

His civic contributions to Orange County were so extraordinary that he was the recipient of numerous awards and recognition including: 

  • Distinguished Citizen of the year for OC District 3 in 2002 and 2012, 
  • OC Citizen of the year in 2012. 
  • In recognition of his selfless acts of giving to his country, his county, and his community, he was awarded the Col Joe W. Kittinger Medal of Achievement in 2012. 
  • He was awarded Lifetime Membership in Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce in 1982 for his efforts in providing covered bleachers for the USN Recruit Command Parade Ground.
  • Professional Golf in Florida. Denton was responsible for scoring activities at Scoring Central for the Citrus Open and subsequently the Bay Hill Classic. When Arnold Palmer started the Senior Tour Chrysler Cup his Tournament Director, Jim Bell, requested Earle to help set up that scoring system In 1984.
  • He was a founder of the Lady Citrus Tournament at Rio Pinar for the Ladies Tour in 1979.
  • He was a 32nd Degree AF&A Mason, member of the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge, the Bahia Shrine, Valley of Orlando.
  • He is listed in Who’s Who in Aviation and Aerospace (1983), 
  • Who’s Who in the Southeast USA and 
  • Who’s Who in the World (1987).
  • In May 2001 he was presented the Korean Ambassador of Peace and Appreciation Medallions, by the ROKA War Veterans.
  • Recipient March 2012 of the Robert F. Cocklin Award, Association of US Army, for significant contributions to our Nation, our Armed Forces and our association.
  • Upon his death in 2015 he was a recipient of a proclamation from Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs and a Resolution from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. Mayor Jacobs also provided a Resolution upon his internment in Arlington Cemetery where Congressman John Mica provided the Eulogy.