Apr 9, 2011 12:16 AM by Matt Stafford

"Lt. Dan" rocks Fort Carson

One of actor Gary Sinise's best known roles is "Lieutenant Dan" in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump. Along with acting he's also an advocate for veterans and a musician. Friday, the "Lieutenant Dan Band" put on a free concert on Fort Carson.

Some were kind of surprised to see such a long line for a concert on the Mountain Post.

"Glad to see there is," says active duty soldier Jon Dingler, "He's coming out to support us, we might as well support him."

"Everybody is on a pretty tight deployment schedule, so any chance to raise some moral, get people out, entertain them, it's always good," Dingler says.

For the Lt. Dan Band, entertainment was the goal.

"We've played hundreds of USO shows over the past eight years," says actor Gary Sinise. He says he gets asked a lot why he's so passionate about being there for the military, and he really isn't exactly sure. He says he has veterans of wars on both sides of his family, and that the attacks on September 11, 2001 had a big impact on him. Long story short, the shows for soldiers started as a way to say thanks

At first he says people were surprised to see the man they knew from Forrest Gump playing them music.

"They knew it was Lieutenant Dan, they just called me Lieutenant Dan all the time," Sinise said, remembering some of those first few shows. He decided to name the band after his character in the movie.

Sinise says these shows have continued to grow a deep respect for the military within himself. This is the second time he's played for Fort Carson soldiers; Sinise was on the Mountain Post back in 2006.

"I know that these people don't have to be in the service, it's a volunteer service that we have," says Sinise. He's been featured in public service announcements for several groups, trying to gather support for the troops.

Sinise's work is something Medal of Honor recipient Drew Dix likes to see. The Pueblo native help put on Friday's show, and remembers back to his days in Vietnam how much shows like this meant to the troops.

"It was always good to see the reaction on their faces," says Dix, he says it gave everyone a little taste of back home.

Sinise says he sees that look at all of his shows and wants to help give it to more people. He knows the soldiers have a tough job to do and he wants to help.

"Clearly it's going to be a long conflict, and our troops are going to need a lot of support," Sinise says. He knows they'll be there for him, so he wants to do the same.


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