MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band performed for approximately 350 service members and civilians at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., Feb. 13, 2010.
The concert, which honored the service of military members, marked the first time the band performed in Yuma.
“I’ve done it so much now, that every time I do it, it only makes me want to do it more,” said Sinise.
The band name comes from a salty Vietnam veteran played by Sinise in the Academy Award-winning 1994 movie “Forrest Gump.” Sinise said he received letters from wounded service members explaining that the character’s tribulations helped them with their own trials during recovery.
“The great thing about that character is that he comes out on top at the end and that’s hopeful, I think, for wounded warriors,” said Sinise. “If calling me Lt. Dan helps them out, then that’s okay.”
The event was hosted by TriWest and sponsored by the USO as a token of appreciation for service members.
This is our way of saying thanks for your service, to allow service members to blow off some steam and stay strong, said Dave McIntyre, president and CEO of TriWest.
The two-and-a-half hour set included a wide variety of covers from different musical eras, including psychedelic classic “Purple Haze” and modern club hit “Crazy in Love.”
The band’s diverse repertoire lay in the strength of its 11 musicians. Electric violinist Dan Myers led the band’s version of “Baba O’Riley,” while vocalists Mari Anne Jayme and Julie Dutchak moved the crowd with “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Capt. David Hillman, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 meteorological and oceanographic division officer, said he and his wife saw the band play last year at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and this year was just as fun to watch.
The final number was “God Bless the USA,” which had the crowd singing along and served as a reminder of why service members put on their uniforms.
“We sure appreciate your service and sacrifice to this country,” said Sinise to the audience during the performance.