Lt. Dan Band visits MHAFB
By Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 02, 2018
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Mountain Home Air Force Base is the equivalent of a small town with a population of less than 7,000 people. The Gunfighters who reside at Mountain Home work hard around the clock to accomplish the base mission of providing F-15E Strike Eagle sorties.
That being said, it’s no surprise that there was such a large turnout on April 26 to the first ever performance of the Lt. Dan Band at the 366th Fighter Wing.
After playing in bands in high school, doing a little bit of directing in the 80’s and ultimately starring in three movies with Tom Hanks, it’s safe to say that Gary Sinise has been in love with performing practically his whole life.
Although he has many accolades, there is one character that stands out to military members: Lieutenant Dan Taylor.
Sinise described playing the wounded veteran in the Academy Award winning film, Forest Gump, as a personal calling card to support the U.S. Military and its veterans.
“I was actively involved back in the 80’s and supporting (veterans) locally in Chicago,” Sinise explained. “Then I played one in Forest Gump; because of that character, a wounded Vietnam veteran, I connected with the Disabled American Veterans association.”
Sinise goes on to explain that the DAV is the largest advocacy group for wounded veterans and was an avenue for him to meet hundreds of service members.
Sinise’s journey of military support eventually led him to the 366th Fighter Wing.
Raising the morale of Mountain Home Airmen was Sinise’s main mission.
“I’ve been able to do a lot of cool things, see a lot of people in action and get to hang out with some great Americans serving our country,” Sinise said, “and then I get to give a little something back to them by providing them the band, the entertainment and delivering a message of appreciation.”
That appreciation was well received by the Gunfighters in the audience that evening.
Airman 1st Class Zachary Hebert, 366th Comptroller Squadron personnelist journeyman, felt that Sinise had accomplished his mission.
“I was pumped! I had so much fun I actually lost my voice,” Hebert exclaimed. “He made the effort to make everyone in the audience happy, no matter their age. It actually felt like the band appreciated what we do.”