Actor brings band to entertain at Wright Patt

Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band rocked out a C-17 hangar at Wright Patterson Air Force Base on Saturday as a special July 4 gift to area service members and veterans.

Sinise said it was his honor to entertain the Armed Forces as he has done through the Gary Sinise Foundation in partnership with the USO around the world since 2003.

“The purpose obviously is to give the troops a great time and to make sure that they know they are appreciated and that people care about what they’re doing,” he said in an interview before the show, “and we want to show a little love to them and give a little something back to them by playing some music for them.”

Sinise, well-known for his Oscar-nominated performance as a wounded Vietnam veteran in “Forrest Gump,” plays with a 12-member band named for that role. They cover multiple genres with the desire, Sinise said, of playing songs known to service members and veterans in the audience of all ages.

Sinise said his respect for members of the military and the challenges they face stretches back to seeing people he knew return from Vietnam when he was young. It was strengthened by the veterans he met after playing Lt. Dan. And his desire to get involved with the USO accompanied to leadup to war after Sept. 11, 2001.

“It doesn’t seem like (the war) is going to end any time soon. We have to as citizens be there to make sure they know they have the backup they need,” he said.

Base Commander Colonel Bradley McDonald said such gestures are appreciated by service members.

“We are absolutely honored and exited to have Mr. Gary Sinise and his band here on the Forth of July weekend,” he said.

Sinise currently stars in CBS’s “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”

Sinise said he has been wanting to work WPAFB into their tour schedule for a while, and after receiving a private tour of the Air Force Museum — which he called “magnificent” — during this visit he plans to return to Dayton.

“Not enough time to see that place in two hours. You’ve got to come back and see it again, so I will,” he said.

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