It was 1997 when Gary Sinise and Kimo Williams first met and worked together on the Steppenwolf Theatre production of Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire. Williams was hired by director Terry Kinney to compose the score for the play and Sinise, a co founder of Steppenwolf along with Terry Kinney, was playing the role of Stanley Kowalski. It was during the technical rehearsals for the play that Gary and Kimo began to discuss their love for music and after learning of Gary's talents on the bass, Kimo invited him to his home for a jam session. Over the next few years, whenever possible, these two pals would play together with other Chicago area musicians and in 2003, as Gary began what has turned out to be an extraordinary commitment to the USO, it became clear that those early jam sessions had laid the foundation for what would become The Lieutenant Dan Band.
"Lieutenant Dan" is the character Gary portrayed in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, a role for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. As Gary began visiting troops around the world, people (even little kids) who didn't know him as Gary Sinise, the actor, would recognize him as "Lt.Dan". Those in the miliary also seem to identify strongly with the character. And so the name for his group was an easy choice: Lt. Dan Band!