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Lt. Dan Band rocks MCAS Yuma
The Marines, sailors and their families at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma were treated to a free live performance Saturday by the Lt. Dan Band.
The band is named after its front man, Gary Sinise, who is famous for portraying the character Lt. Dan Taylor opposite of Tom Hanks in the movie “Forrest Gump.”
Sinise came to Yuma to perform as part of a USO tour to bolster the morale of America's wartime military personnel.
Sinise is a busy man, and is currently a lead actor in the television drama, “CSI: New York.” During a news conference Saturday he said he makes time to help the armed forces.
"I just try to fit in as much as I can, and I know that people are in need of entertainment and support. Our military is stretched, and they are working hard and suffering in so many ways. If I can fit that stuff in between my television schedule and the family life, then I'm going to do it."
Sinise said helping others gives him satisfaction.
"It is a good feeling to know you can help some folks out and play a little music for 'em and make ‘em feel better... I think it helps them to know they are appreciated. The USO does great stuff. It's all over the world and I've been able to travel to places most people never get to go and see. I've met extraordinary people on this journey I've been on to support the troops."
Sinise said the name of his band stemmed from the popularity of Lt. Dan.
"One of the reasons I named the band the Lt. Dan Band is because I couldn't get away from it. Everywhere I would go in the military they would call me that... I just thought there was some sort of synergy, and something going on. If calling me Lt. Dan helps them out, it is OK with me."
Sinise said entertaining the troops is the least he can do.
"I love my country and I know we are in dangerous times and it doesn't look like these times are going to get any less dangerous as the years go on. What would we do without defenders? They are the ones who sign up... to fight America's wars. I just want to do what I can to keep them strong, keep their families strong and help them through some tough times."
Sinise said he wants to make the troops happy.
"I love when they are smiling and are having a good time. That is my purpose. The mission here for us is to keep their spirits up."
Sinise said he now gets to fulfill a childhood dream of being a rock star.
"I'm an actor by trade and a bass player; it's a hobby. I used to play years ago and had bands all the way from the time I was in fourth grade up into my mid-20s and then my acting (took over). It is kind of living out a thing that never happened back then. Before I got into acting, I thought I was going to be a rock star. Now we can play for these giant crowds, and it's a lot of fun. It is good to know I can actually help some people out by doing it."
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.