Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band Performs in USO shows in Alaska

Empty Stage in Hanger 20 at Elmendorf AFB. Sound check over. Show in 2 hours. (Photo courtesy of Gary Sinise's Facebook page)

Actor – and USO favorite – Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band are performing three free, private USO concerts for troops and their families as part of a USO tour sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

Last night they rocked the house at Elmendorf AFB.  It’s the first trip to Alaska for Sinise, who told KTUU.com, “We’re always thrilled to be able to you know, come and help — help support the troops, and entertain them and their families, and see places like this.  I mean, we’ve been in some not-so-great places too, but this is one of the more beautiful spots we’ve been in.”

Check out rehearsal footage from Elmendorf in the video below!  Tonight the 12-piece band will be at Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and Saturday they travel to Eielson Air Force Base outside Fairbanks.

Lt. Dan Band Says “Ciao” to Naples

Gary Sinise and his 12-member band, the Lt. Dan Band, celebrated Independence Day with over 4,000 military families at an exclusive USO concert, sponsored by TriWest Health Care Alliance, at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr in Germany, July 4, 2010. (U.S. Army Photo by Gertrud Zach/released)

You know him, you love him, and his band regaled Troops and families with their favorite songs over the 4th of July holiday.  Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band traveled through Germany and Italy for a special pair of concerts earlier this month, entertaining thousands of military families along the way.  Visit their website for the latest updates; they have public concerts coming up in Oshkosh, WI; Airway Heights, WA; and Staten Island, just to name a few.

And be sure to check out our photo essay from the stops in Germany – with USO’s very own CEO and President Sloan Gibson – and enjoy the videos below from Italy!

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band Rock the Fourth with a USO Concert in Germany!

Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band hit the stage to celebrate troops and their families at USAG Grafenwoher, Germany, July 4, 2010. (USO Photo by Jaimie Goloyugo)

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than being with the men and women of our armed forces. The band and I are always happy to hit the road with the USO.  We love performing for troops, because their sacrifices make it possible for the rest of us to live our lives.  They deserve so much more, and this is just one way for us to let them know we appreciate what they do.” – Gary Sinise

Emmy Award-winning actor Gary Sinise and his 12-member band, the Lt. Dan Band, celebrated Independence Day with over 4,000 military families at an exclusive USO concert, sponsored by TriWest Health Care Alliance, at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr in Germany, July 4, 2010.  Over the past seven years, Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band have entertained nearly 150,000 troops and military families in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan.

On Saturday, July 10, Sinise and band will travel to Italy to put on another USO show, also sponsored by TriWest, for troops and military families serving at NSA Naples.  Can’t make it to Italy?  Then check out the Jonathan Flora documentary “Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good,” which chronicled the band’s journey around the globe in support of U.S. troops.  It’s almost like being on the front row.

As always, we love having Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band on tour in support of our Troops.  If you were there, let us know what you thought of the concert!  And be sure to check out more pictures below…

More than 4,000 military families gathered at USAG Grafenwoehr, Germany to celebrate Independence Day with a USO concert featuring Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, July 4, 2010. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

Gary Sinise and his bandmates get up close and personal with Troops and their families at USAG Grafenwoher for their USO concert celebrating Independence Day. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson accompanied Sinise and bandmates to Germany, and also took time out to visit with Troops along the way. (USO photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

Vocalist Jeff Vezain (l) and Gary Sinise lead the band in a crowd favorite. Sinise formed The Lt. Dan Band with Chicago composer/Vietnam veteran Kimo Williams (not shown) in 2003, and they continue to perform 30 to 40 shows annually. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

Announcing This Year’s GI Film Festival!

USO CEO & President Sloan Gibson greets actor Faizon Love at the ON PATROL launch party screening of Taking Chance at 2009's GI Film Festival.

The GI Film Festival (GIFF) is back in DC for this fourth annual event designed specifically to “celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the American military through the medium of film.”

Last year saw the premiere of Taking Chance, a film starring Kevin Bacon that is inspired by the true events surrounding one Marine’s death and the military escort officer who returns him home.  That screening kicked off the official launch of ON PATROL – The Magazine of the USO.  The film Valkyrie also received a special screening just for wounded warriors courtesy of USO of Metropolitan Washington.

This year’s festival includes an equally fantastic lineup, including USO favorite Gary Sinise’s “Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good,” which chronicles his band’s journey around the globe in support of our Troops.  The documentary screens on Thursday, May 15th and is part of an entire evening dedicated to honoring wounded warriors.  Tickets are still available.

The entire festival runs from Tuesday, May 11 through Sunday, May 16 and includes feature films, documentaries, shorts’ series, and discussion panels from actors, directors, and producers.  There’s even a bootcamp for aspiring filmmakers.

Can’t make it to DC for the festivities?  Be sure to check out the website for film trailers, the GIFF blog, and much more!  And be sure to enjoy the official GIFF trailer below…

Bush Library Celebrates the USO!

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is in College Station, TX.

George Bush, 41st president of the United States, and Mrs. Barbara Bush will host an event celebrating the USO and its role in lifting the spirits of America’s men and women in uniform and their families. Event panelists will include Gary Sinise, a film and TV star; Mayra Veronica, singer and model; Major General Jeffery W. Hammond, U.S. Army, chief of staff of U.S. Forces Command; and Sloan Gibson, the 22nd president and CEO of United Service Organizations (USO).

The doors will open at 3:00 p.m. A limited number of free tickets are available in the Bryan-College Station community at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Texas A&M University’s MSC Box Office, B-CS Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Eagle, KBTX, and WTAW. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good - watch the trailer of this moving documentary at http://www.ltdanbandmovie.com/

The event will include remarks from the panelists about the ongoing mission of the USO and an audience question-and-answer session. The forum will be followed by a reception and screening of the award-winning film The Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good, which will be hosted by Jonathan Flora, the film’s director.  The USO event will also have a Mobile Canteen on hand.  Attendees will be able to contribute to the USO’s efforts by donating supplies including toiletries and items to benefit deployed troops.  The items can be dropped off beginning at 12:00 pm at the Mobile USO at the George Bush Presidential Library Center. For a list of suggested items, click here.

Even if you can’t make it to College Station, though, you should be able to watch some of the event live on C-SPAN and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum website.  We’ll give you more details as they become available.