Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band Keep Rocking with the USO
One of the organizations I am proud to donate to is the United Service Organizations, or USO. Since 1941, the USO has supported troops at home and abroad. With the intent to lift the spirits of troops and their family members, the organization endeavors to provide a “home away from home” feeling for all the families dealing with the rigors of serving overseas. The organization became famous for its Camp Shows over the years–with some occurring in active war zones. To make this all possible, the USO relies heavily on private donations.
One group with an extensive history of helping on both of those fronts is the Lt. Dan Band. Headed by the exceptionally talented musician Kimo Williams and actor Gary Sinise, the Lt. Dan Band formed in 2004 with a cast of other talented musicians that mostly played shows in the Chicago area before branching out to USO events across the world. Fans of Sinise’s acting know that the group’s name comes from his legendary role in the film Forrest Gump.
Williams is a veteran himself, serving as the Army Reserve’s Bandmaster for the 85th Division Army Reserve Band and retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer in the 90s. Sinise boasts a long record of supporting the troops through the band and his own individual efforts. For his contributions, Sinise has been recognized on multiple occasions–including being the recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal. One of Sinise’s strongest initiatives has been for a memorial to the millions of disabled veterans in America. In an interview with the Army in 2007 Sinise noted, “Each time I visit our wounded I’m struck by their humility, their courage, determination, their acceptance and their dedication to our country and their fellow warriors.”
To provide every service person and their family a good time, the band aims to give something to everyone with an array of songs ranging from “Locked Out of Heaven” to “Purple Haze.” When not performing for the troops, the group raises awareness at benefit concerts through music and education. Furthermore, through their Invincible Spirit Festivals, the group has boosted spirits while inspiring the military community. To date, the group has played over 300 concerts across the world in support of service people.
Sinise recalled the feeling he has when playing for America’s brave as, “…truly one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever done,” he described. “I know that they don’t have to do this work, and I’m grateful that we have people like them who want to volunteer to defend this great nation in military service.”
The group will be playing in the U.S. throughout the summer. Be sure to visit their website for all upcoming tour stops.