Fox News follows actor Gary Sinise's Iraq trip

Fri Jan 9, 2009 3:17am EST
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By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Ever since the September 11 attacks moved him to appreciate members of the military more than ever, "CSI: NY" star Gary Sinise has been on a mission to increase awareness of their contributions to this country.

It's a mission that has taken him to Iraq four times and Afghanistan as well as military bases in Europe, Asia and the U.S. And it's one that is chronicled in an hourlong documentary narrated by Sinise and airing at 9 p.m. Saturday on the Fox News Channel.

Sinise is well known for his Oscar-nominated role as wounded Vietnam War vet Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump." He worries that the contributions of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans will be ignored or forgotten, much like it was for Vietnam veterans.

"We have volunteer defenders who are out there in dangerous places, and their families worry about them," Sinise told The Hollywood Reporter. "Whether you support the war, the mission is to make sure our troops and service members who don't ask all that much get some sort of appreciation and gratitude."

"On the Road in Iraq With Our Troops and Gary Sinise" is the product of a seven-day trip Sinise took to Iraq in July. He visited Kuwait and the Iraqi cities of Baghdad, Al Qaim, Al Asad and Ramadi as well as several former palaces of Saddam Hussein. As always, he spent lots of time with the troops, talking and shaking hands and taking pictures and signing autographs.

But this time around, his friend and filmmaker Jonathan Flora asked if he could accompany him on the trip with a handheld camera. Flora came away with 26 hours of video that originally had been considered as the source material for another project. But Flora and Sinise wondered if an hour of the footage could be carved out for a special.

"I said, 'Why don't we make this into its own thing and let people see what I do on these trips to Iraq and the people I met on these trips,'" Sinise said.

Fox News Channel jumped at the chance to air it.   Continued...

<p>Actor Gary Sinise sits in a U.S. Army Apache helicopter during a tour of the flight line at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Iraq May 21, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Theiler/Handout</p>