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Miss Tyk recalled their first performance: “There were only about 30 of us present - at tops - at the Great Lakes Naval Base. I said to my colleague, ‘Oh, another actor band.’ Then the magic happened. During the break, Gary took the microphone and addressed the troops from the heart. He spoke about his commitment to them, to our country and how much he appreciated their willingness to protect and fight for our freedoms. That is the moment I knew he was the ‘genuine article.’ You could actually feel his love for them.”

Miss Tyk recalled another memorable experience with Mr. Sinise.

“We picked up Gary at 5 a.m.,” she wrote. “I felt somewhat crabby because I had to get up very, very early to get him to the CBS studios. There he was in front of the residence waiting for us with a smile on his face eagerly waiting to help. I thought to myself, Sharon you need to learn a lesson from this man. Look at him, he´s honored and thrilled to help and he´s not even getting paid to do this and you are! His love for the mission that day completely changed my thought process. He is the perfect example of ‘you teach what you live.’ ”

Lt. Col. Scott Rainey concurred: “If I have learned anything from over 25 years of being around troops it is that they are among the most perceptive of souls. It is virtually impossible to ‘pull the wool over their eyes.’ Insincerity and falseness are immediately recognized for what they are and those who demonstrate these characteristics are quickly marginalized and ignored. What I learned within the first 10 minutes of meeting Gary Sinise at a dusty airbase in Kuwait last July was that these character flaws are completely absent in this patriotic and selfless man.”

Spc. Jason M. Hale, who encountered Mr. Sinise at Camp Ramadi, e-mailed: “He was the only celebrity that came to take pictures with us where we worked on base, and you had the feeling that if he could, he would have grabbed a weapon and gone on patrol with us. That’s how much he connected with the troops. He’s one of those Hollywood guys who doesn’t act like he’s from Hollywood, and to those who are living in the desert, putting their lives on the line, that’s quite refreshing.”

To get a sense of the scope of what Mr. Sinise means to soldiers like Spc. Hale, filmmaker and Army 82nd Airborne veteran Jonathan Flora followed him and his band to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2008. He recounts one time when he witnessed one of Mr. Sinise´s typical interactions with the troops.

“It was hot, Iraq hot when we stopped at a check point before entering an FOB (Forward Operating Base). Gary began speaking with a soldier through the window and soon we were all standing outside so he could have his picture taken with him and a few of his buddies. Soon there were at least fifty guys around him and he greets each one as he always does. This is an unscheduled stop and we are being urged to move on so as to be on time for his next stop, but Gary, still, meets with each one and gives them their time. Finally, we have to move on as he says good-bye to the last soldier.

“As we are about to get into the vehicle we hear the guys yelling and in the distance is one more soldier. He is dressed in full battle-rattle humping as fast as he can in this unbearable heat to get to Gary before he leaves. He had just been relieved from his point and heard that Gary Sinise had stopped by the check point, and he was determined not to miss him. Gary without hesitation stopped and waited and he greeted this young man as if he was the first man in line, full of enthusiasm and appreciation.

“When we did finally get into the vehicle I mentioned to Gary how I observe how he makes each and every man or woman feel special and appreciated, he paused in thought before answering, as he often does, and then says with a heavy heart, ‘It’s because we don’t know what the next hour holds for them. As tired as I might get sometimes, and I do, it is nothing compared to what they go through day-after-day with the price they are so readily willing to pay.’ ”

Fox News will be broadcasting Mr. Flora´s one-hour special in prime time on Jan. 10.

Deb Rickert of Operation Support our Troops said it best about Mr. Sinise, the recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal.

“In an age when the public often lavishes epitaphs of greatness on celebrities merely because they are famous, the military community bestows the simple title of friend on Gary Sinise truly because that is what he is to us.”

• Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site and the video site He also is co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity.”