News: Third Army hosts Gary Sinise, Lt. Dan Band
Story by Cpl. Christopher Calvert
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Third Army/ARCENT hosted a live performance by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band here Jan. 28.
During the concert, the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor and his band entertained thousands of service members, contractors, and Department of Defense civilians as they covered classic hits from Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, to contemporary tunes by Adele, the Zac Brown Band, and many more.
“We’ve been all over the world in support of our troops, because we know how hard you’re working for us,” Sinise said. “We came here to show our appreciation for you and every sacrifice you make. This is our first time in Kuwait. We want to keep coming back to show our support for everything you do.”
Co-founded in 2004 by Sinise and Vietnam veteran and composer Kimo Williams, the Lt. Dan Band has provided Sinise and his fellow musicians the opportunity to entertain service members and veterans while touring overseas with the United Service Organizations, and performing stateside on bases and in veterans' hospitals.
Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band plays more than 30 shows per year, with 75 percent of them for USO, charities or benefits.
Spc. Rodney Sears, 728th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 213th Regional Support Group and Saint Joseph, Mo., native, attended the live performance and said finally getting to see Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band boosted his morale.
“This is very exciting,” Sears said. “He’s came to Fort Stewart before while I was stationed there, but I missed him. It’s awesome to get to see him this time, especially while deployed. It gives us soldiers something different to do, while offering us a little taste of home.”
When not performing with the band, the bass-playing Sinise travels on his own to visit deployed troops. In 2003, after visiting a school in Iraq, Sinise and “Seabiscuit” author Laura Hillenbrand founded Operation International Children, an organization that ships school supplies to U.S. troops for distribution in Middle Eastern schools.
Operation International Children continues to work directly with the U.S. military, and has delivered more than 250,000 school supply kits, 500,000 toys, thousands of blankets, backpacks, shoes, Arabic language books, and sports equipment, all of which have been distributed by service members to Iraqi, Afghan, Djibouti and Philippine children.
Army Reservist 1st Lt. Natalie O. Minear, 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and Seattle native, also attended the event and said Third Army helped build espirit de corps among her unit by bringing in Sinise and his crew.
“Having the opportunity to be here for such a huge event is very exciting,” Minear stated. “You see him [Sinise] all over television, and you hear about him entertaining troops everywhere, so it’s fun for me and my team to have the chance to see him here.”
Third Army’s commitment to the well-being of service members remains a priority. Through morale boosting events like Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band’s live performance, Third Army is keeping spirits high for service members, the strength of our nation.