The “Forrest Gump” star who spends his free time entertaining military families became an honorary member of the few and the proud last night.
The actor Gary Sinise, known for his iconic portrayal of sharp-tongued soldier Lieutenant Dan in the 1994 film and for his long run on the CBS series CSI, was made an honorary Marine Aug. 29 in an intimate dinner ceremony at the home of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos.
For the last two years, Sinise’s eponymous nonprofit foundation has helped renovate veterans’ homes, sent military spouses on vacations, and sponsored military scholarships. And his Lt. Dan Band has traveled to military installations across the globe to provide free concerts to troops and their families–I’ve been to one, and I can tell you he’s pretty good on the guitar.
A spokesman for Marine Barracks Washington, Capt. Jack Norton, said Sinise was pinned with the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, just like any new Marine. He will serve as the guest of honor at tonight’s Evening Parade at the 8th and I parade field.
“This was one of the most extraordinary nights,” Sinise said in a released statement. “I was totally surprised by what the general gave me tonight. I’m humbled, shocked, moved and motivated to keep standing up for our men and women and giving back to them.”
In a statement, Amos praised Sinise’s work on behalf of the troops.
“There is little I can say to enhance the rich reputation Gary Sinise has earned, both in the spotlight as an immensely talented actor, and less conspicuously as a tireless advocate for our men and women in uniform,” he said. “What I can do, what I am privileged and proud to do, is to recognize this humble patriot’s selfless service by making him an Honorary Marine.”
This is the second honorary military induction in as many years for Sinise: in Aug. 2012, the Navy made him an honorary chief petty officer.
Sinise joins the likes of legendary badass Chuck Norris and comedian Bob Hope in earning the title of honorary Marine, which is given to those who have demonstrated Marine Corps qualities or distinguished themselves in service to the military. According to a listing on the Marine Corps Community website, there have been 75 honorary Marines inducted since 1992, not counting cancer survivor Daran Wankum, who received the honor earlier this year.