Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band return to Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl for post-game concert

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Gary Sinise and The Lieutenant Dan Band will return December 30 to perform immediately following the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at a post-game concert presented by Armed Forces Insurance. The concert is free to the public and will once again pay tribute to the men and women of the United States armed forces, as well as their families. This marks the second consecutive year the bowl has offered a complimentary concert to fans at the postseason game.

“We are delighted to have Gary Sinise and The Lieutenant Dan Band back again this year,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “Gary’s continued commitment to serve the USO and our country’s servicemen and women is something we truly admire, and we are honored to have him tied to our event.”

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be televised on ESPN from SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. (CST) on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. The concert will begin immediately following the conclusion of the game in the Armed Forces Adventure Area located in the Westcott parking lot, directly north of Ford Stadium. In addition to the concert, the Adventure Area will feature military hardware and equipment and interactive displays, offering fun for all ages. The Adventure Area will be open prior to kick-off from 8:00 to 10:30 a.m. and immediately following the game until 5:00 p.m.

"Kimo Williams and Gary Sinise are national treasures,” said Armed Forces Insurance chairman, Colonel Tom Dials (retired). “Their shared love of music has benefitted thousands of servicemen and women, veterans and their families. What a great privilege that AFI has been afforded the opportunity to be a part of their work."

Gary Sinise’s musical career began in 1997 when he met Kimo Williams while working on the production of A Streetcar Named Desire. During technical rehearsal the two began to discuss their love for music and shortly after began frequent “jam sessions” with other Chicago area musicians. In 2003, as Sinise began focusing his efforts towards serving the USO (www.uso.org), it became clear that those early jam sessions had laid the foundation for what would become The Lieutenant Dan Band.

Per Gary Sinise’s request, the USO agreed to allow the newly founded band to accompany him on one of his many tours. Thus, in February of 2004 The Lieutenant Dan Band launched their first overseas USO tour in Korea, Singapore and Diego Garcia. Gary Sinise and The Lieutenant Dan Band play over 30 shows a year primarily for USO and other military related causes.

The "Lieutenant Dan" name represents the character Sinise portrayed in the 1994 film, Forrest Gump, a role for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. As he began visiting troops around the world, people who did not know him as Gary Sinise, the actor, would recognize him as Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump co-star, "Lieutenant Dan". Those in the military seemed to identify strongly with the character, and so the name for his group was an easy choice. 

The Lieutenant Dan Band covers everything from Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix classics to contemporary songs by Kelly Clarkson, Evanescence, Beyonce, Lonestar, the Zac Brown Band and much much more. Even tunes from the 40's big band era. There's something for everyone and each show highlights the musical diversity of the band, as well as the passion and energy each member brings to the stage. To learn more about Gary Sinise and The Lieutenant Dan Band, visit the band’s web site at www.ltdanband.com

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured a military theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the military are prevalent throughout the game. Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing military hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; on-field induction ceremonies; military bands and honor guards; and the awarding of the annual "Great American Patriot Award" (GAPA) presented by Armed Forces Insurance. Previous recipients include Admiral Thad Allen, Admiral Michael G. “Mike” Mullen, General David H. Petraeus, Preston "Pete" Geren and Gordon England. For additional information about the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, please visit www.ArmedForcesBowl.com, www.Facebook.com/ArmedForcesBowl or www.Twitter.com/ArmedForcesBowl.

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, joined the bowl on August 23, 2006, as the title sponsor of the postseason college football game formerly known as the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl (2003, 2004) and the Fort Worth Bowl (2005).  The 2006 season marked the first year for the adoption of the “Armed Forces Bowl” name, making the official title the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Bell Helicopter has twice exercised its option for title sponsorship of the game. The current agreement was signed in September 2009 to continue the sponsorship for the 2010 and 2011 games with a two-year option for 2012 and 2013.

Ticket prices for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl are $50 until November 15, 2010, at which time the ticket price will increase to $60. Military veterans receive a discounted ticket price of $30 and active-duty personnel receive free admittance via the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl corporate military ticket underwriting program. Tickets for this year’s game can be obtained online at www.ArmedForcesBowl.com.

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl would like to extend a special thank you to American Airlines for their generous contributions to this event.

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