Military News

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rockstar Lieutenant's Second Visit to Minot AFB

by Airman 1st Class Justin T. Armstrong
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

8/18/2015 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- After quietly tuning his electric bass behind stage, he slowly walks up a ramp, wearing a drab-green T-shirt and an Army combat uniform patterned ball cap emblazoned with his foundation's red and blue logo. Head down, he puts an arm in the air and instantly the Dock 1 crowd went from silent to a deafening roar.

Gary Sinise, better known by some as Lt. Dan Taylor from the 90's cult-classic film Forrest Gump, visited Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, to perform with the Lt. Dan Band for the second time Aug. 15, 2015.

"We wanted to provide entertainment to folks who don't generally get a lot of it," Sinise said. "Airmen and families need some entertainment up here -- they need to know they're appreciated -- so I came back."

The band, comprised of 12 members, is a program of the Gary Sinise Foundation and has per-formed hundreds of shows for thousands of military members since 2003, according to their offi-cial website.

Sinise's original visit came in 2014 after Air Force Global Strike Command asked if the band would visit bases within the command. The initial tour of the northern bases included F.E. War-ren AFB, Malmstrom AFB and Minot AFB and was produced by the Gary Sinise Foundation as well as local sponsors.

This year's tour was a joint effort between the Gary Sinise Foundation and the United Service Organizations.

Sinise understands and appreciates the importance of the nuclear mission at Minot as well as the hard work Airmen put in day-in and day-out.

He often stressed the significance and uniqueness of the mission and location.

"It's an important mission up here," Sinise said. "You can tend to be just doing your job up here, in the middle of nowhere, with no knowledge that folks are actually paying attention to what you're doing."

This is why Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band returned to Minot with the band's theme being "Honor, Gratitude, and Rock and Roll."

"I like to get to places in the military where a lot of folks don't get to go or see and meet people that are doing jobs that are important and make sure they know we're grateful for what they're doing out there," Sinise said. "That's why I came back. I just want to say 'thank you' and make sure the families up here know that we appreciate them as well."

The Lt. Dan Band set list included a variety of popular covers such as "Uptown Funk," "Let it Go" from Frozen, the Crime Scene Investigation New York television show theme song, "Chicken Fried" and "God Bless the USA."

After a performance lasting more than two hours, the lights of Dock 1 dimmed, a spotlight fo-cused center-stage on Sinise and he took a moment to talk about how the military affected his life. He concluded by formally thanking Minot Airmen and their families for their tireless contri-butions to our nation's safety.

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