WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - More than 1,000 Tropic Lightning Soldiers, retired military members and their families received an early holiday present two days before Valentine's Day.

Actor and musician Gary Sinise and the Lieutenant Dan Band performed a free concert at Schofield Barracks' Martinez Physical Fitness Center (MPFC), Feb. 12, two days before the traditionally romantic, gift-giving day.

The concert was sponsored by United Service Organizations (USO) and TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

Onstage, the band entertained the MPFC audience with interpolations of music from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Kelly Clarkson, Jimi Hendrix, and Beyonce - twice inviting members of the audience onstage.

This was the fourth year the Lieutenant Dan Band has performed in Hawaii.

Sinise, who is widely known for his role as Lt. Dan in the 1994 movie Forest Gump, and is currently starring in the television series 'CSI New York,' said he was happy to be able to perform for the Soldiers and their families who give so much to our Nation in a time of war.

Many of Sinise's own family members have served in the military, he said, and band member, Kimo Williams, is a Vietnam War veteran.

"The intent of the event was to thank Schofield Barracks Soldiers and their families for their everyday sacrifices," said Sinise.

"It's very important that we give back to these volunteers who serve our Nation, because they're on the front lines for us, and they need to know we care," he added.

According to the band's website they perform around 40 shows a year with the USO, even traveling overseas to perform for deployed Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sinise has been involved with veterans' groups for 20 years and has been performing with the USO since June 2003.

"I remember how the Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home," said the musician and actor.

Having been involved with Vietnam veterans over the years I wanted to help out, so one of the things a celebrity can do is call up the USO and say 'send me [on a trip.] I'll go wherever you want,'" said Sinise.

Sinise also said he really appreciates every Soldier's commitment and the jobs they do every single day.

"Everywhere [our servicemembers] are serving, I just want to let them know that they're appreciated," he said. "I'm appreciative for what they doing for our Country and I don't take their sacrifices or their families' sacrifices for granted."

Page last updated Thu February 17th, 2011 at 19:00