The Lt. Dan character found peace in the "Forrest Gump" movie, but the actor who played him found purpose off-screen well before the hit film.

With musical talent and a heart for soldiers, actor Gary Sinise and his 12-member group, the Lt. Dan Band, perform at Donovan Field in Fort Stewart at 5 p.m. April 6.

The free concert is open to the public.

"He's a great guy," said Kevin Larson, Fort Stewart public affairs officer. "He's s a big supporter of Army families and the military."

Sinise's group is a cover band, and concertgoers can expect a spirited, family-friendly USO performance, according to USO officials.

"He has been here before, and it was a great concert," Larson said.

This will be Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band's eighth USO concert for military families at Fort Stewart.

Another connection linking Sinise to the area is that Savannah was a prominent shooting location for "Forrest Gump."

But in the earlier concerts, Larson remembers in particular how Sinise invited military families on stage.

"It's just a great experience for everybody," Larson said.

Concertgoers are asked to bring their own seats, if desired.

Vendors will be on site, but officials prohibit grills, coolers, glass bottles, weapons, pets and smoking.

Visitors should enter Fort Stewart at the Main Gate, also known as Gate 1, on General Screven Way.

Drivers must be able to present a valid driver's license and passengers must have photo identification.

The concert is just one of many by Sinise.

Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band have traveled the world, encouraging soldiers for more than 10 years, according to Rachel M. Tischler, USO vice president of entertainment.

"His high energy, family-friendly show is a perfect way for us to say thank you and let them know how much they are appreciated in a fun and entertaining way," Tischler said.

But Sinise has advocated for America's servicemen and women for more than 30 years. His passion stems from his family's military service, and a desire to help after 9/11.

"Personally, I have made it a particular mission to do what I can to draw attention to our military and first responder communities, and to make sure they know they are remembered and appreciated," Sinise wrote on his website.

Sinise's portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump" helped his connection with the military community.

As Sinise visited troops around the world, he realized that many people didn't know him as Gary Sinise, but as "Lt. Dan."

And so, he said, the name for his group was an easy choice.

"Those in the military also seem to identify strongly with the character," said Bob Mathews, Fort Stewart's family and morale, welfare and recreation marketing publicity specialist.

The USO supporter has performed 130 concerts and made nearly 70 appearances across the country and around the world at military hospitals, bases and USO events.

Sinise also launched the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011 to honor U.S. military, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.

His group creates and supports programs to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.

"He's incredibly supportive," Larson said.