Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise – best known for his roles in “CSI: NY” and “Forrest Gump” – hosted a special concert in San Diego Saturday honoring local troops and their families.
Sinise, who famously played rough and tough wounded Vietnam War veteran Lt. Dan alongside Tom Hanks in the 1994 big screen hit “Forrest Gump,” visited San Diego’s Naval Medical Center and played a show for more than 1,000 service members with his very own "Lt. Dan Band."
Sinise is the founder of The Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping and honoring U.S. service members, veterans, first responders and their families.
His band consistently performs for troops on the road all over the world.
“I do this for fun and because I feel like it can do some good," Sinise said Saturday at the Naval Medical Center.
"This – the music -- is a part of my overall mission to show support and appreciation and try to raise some spirits, and give everybody a little break, and raise from money too,” he added.
This isn’t the first Sinise has visited service members in San Diego. The actor regularly visits wounded soldiers at hospitals.
Sinise feels like he connects with service members on a special level thanks to his iconic role as Lt. Dan.
“I realized that quickly they recognized me as someone who kind of understood where they were going through because I played a character that had been catastrophically injured in Vietnam. Men and women in uniform can [identify] with the military aspect of Lt. Dan and also the injured [soldier]."
In San Diego Saturday, Sinise wanted to show his respect and appreciation for those at the Naval Medical Center.
“[I have] a great sort of appreciation for the hospital here and the staff and the patients and the families,” Sinise told NBC 7.
Fan and wounded local Marine Sean Callis was, in turn, very appreciative of Sinise’s visit to San Diego.
“I think this is amazing, I was going to go to the Pumpkin Patch today with the daughter but then we got the email [about the concert] and cancelled that and said, ‘Oh, we'll go tomorrow,’” said Callis.
Sinise’s active involvement with wounded troops over the years has earned the actor the nickname “The New Bob Hope.”
A flattered and playful Sinise, however, said there’s one major difference between himself and Bob Hope.
“Well, I play bass. I don't know that Bob Hope played the bass,” joked Sinise.