“One of the coolest experiences ever.”
That’s how actor Gary Sinise, one of the biggest advocates of America’s servicemen and women, described his ride in an E/A-18G Growler earlier this year, which took him from MCAS Miramar to the deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, somewhere off the coast of CA.
Sinise may be most famous for his Academy Award-nominated role as “Lt. Dan” in the landmark film Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks, but his work supporting those who serve the U.S. military (past and present) may be his ultimate legacy.
Sinise isn’t just a vocal spokesperson and supporter of the military’s men and women, he does a lot to show his support and gratitude by giving back through various outreach programs too. He’s the spokesperson for many veterans organizations and serves on executive councils for the Medal of Honor Foundation, the USO and serves as an advisory board member for Hope for the Warriors.
He founded The Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, which (among other things) builds custom Smart Homes for severely wounded veterans, and also performs nearly 50 shows a year around the world in support of servicemen and women as part of the “Lt. Dan Band”, which he formed in 2003. The foundation also hosts day-long festivals at military medical bases, and serves meals to deploying troops.
Above, watch as Sinise flies an E/A-18G Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-129 to visit the USS Theodore Roosevelt in February 2017.
For his efforts over some 30 years, Sinise has received several awards including the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment; the Spirit of the USO Award; the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award; and the Spirit of Hope Award.
He’s also a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He’s also been named an Honorary Marine, an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the Navy and was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Award.
This week, Sinise released some photos and videos on his Facebook page about his experience onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, something he described as a “special opportunity” and “a trip I will never forget.”
More recently, Sinise and Lt. Dan Band performed two free concerts for airmen and their families who are based at Patrick Air Force Base and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, as a way of thanking them for their tireless efforts providing relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Many of the rescue crews who flew weeklong relief efforts in Texas to rescue stranded victims trapped by flooding from Hurricane Harvey are also stationed at Patrick and Egin AFB as well.
The Gary Sinise Foundation launched a 2017 Hurricane Relief Fund to help veteran and first responder communities affected by the horrific storms, many of whom are still in the Gulf region helping those whose lives were devastated by this season’s hurricanes.
Matter of fact, many service members lost everything, and still went out to rescue others, putting others first as they always have.
“We will be raising funds to help the veterans, active duty, firefighters, police, and EMTs who have experienced loss due to these storms,” says the Foundation’s Hurricane Relief page. “We will offer grants to assist with anything from basic necessities to home repairs as well as helping our first responders who need damaged equipment replaced.”
ABOVE: Video from Gary Sinise flying onboard a VAQ-129 Growler (horizontal picture next time please Gary, ha).