Gary Sinise Visits U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan over Christmas Holiday

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Actor and U.S. veterans’ advocate Gary Sinise is visiting American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq this week ahead of the Christmas holiday.

The 62-year-old Criminal Minds star and founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation posted photos from his trip to Afghanistan this week, where he joined troops and medical staff at Bagram Air Base and posed for pictures with soldiers at the Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad.

Sinise announced over the weekend that he would traveling to Afghanistan and Iraq this week “for a quick trip to see as many troops as possible,” before he heads back to the States on Friday.

The Oscar-nominated actor — among the most outspoken advocates for U.S. veterans in Hollywood — was honored with the Bradley Prize in 2016 for his Foundation’s work supporting veterans and first responders. Sinise created his eponymous foundation in 2011 and has since launched several programs in support of veterans and their families, including R.I.S.E., which provides homes, mobility devices and specially adapted vehicles to wounded service members, and Serving Heroes, which serves meals to veterans at major travel hubs.

Sinise also regularly travels across the country and overseas to play music for troops with his Lt. Dan Band, so named for the character he played in the 1994 film Forrest Gump.

Earlier this year, Sinise was chosen to receive the George Catlett Marshall Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Council of Trustees of the Association of the United States Army.

He was also selected to be the Grand Marshal in this year’s Rose Parade, set for January 1 in Pasadena, in honor of his work with veterans.

On Monday, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Snowball Express — a community-based group that works to support children of fallen soldiers, and to provide them with happy memories — had become part of the Gary Sinise Foundation.

“We have opportunities to grow Snowball, involve more children, more families. Unfortunately we have so many,” Sinise told THR. “We want to be able to take care of as many families as possible.”

 

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum

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