Longtime Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak once revealed his favorite themed week of the popular television game show.
It probably comes as little surprise to die-hard Wheel of Fortune fans, but Pat Sajak loves weeks on the show that feature members of the military. Part of that is because Sajak is more than just the show’s iconic host, he was also a member of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Sajak says that his respect for everyone that serves in the military has stuck with him during his life. He told the United Service Organizations in 2014 that the time he spent in the military is one of the things in his life that he is most proud of. Particularly the time he spent in Vietnam.
“On ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ my favorite weeks are those which feature military personnel,” Sajak explained. “We’ve also had Military Families Week to honor those at home whose sacrifices are often overlooked.”
Sajak also revealed that in terms of ratings, Wheel of Fortune fans respond well to shows that include military members.
“Even when we don’t have special military-themed weeks, many of our players are members of the armed services,” he said. “And I’m happy to report that, in terms of ratings and audience feedback, our viewers seem to enjoy and appreciate that fact. As a Vietnam vet, I’m especially gratified to see a change in the way veterans of that war are perceived and appreciated.”
From Army DJ to ‘Wheel of Fortune’
Before Wheel of Fortune fans knew him as the popular host of the show, Vietnam veterans knew Pat Sajak as the “Vietnam DJ.” He was an Army Spc. 5th class who served as a disc jockey in Saigon. Sajak says that he would often feel guilty about his “soft” duty. However, there were times that fellow soldiers made him feel better.
“I used to feel a bit guilty about my relatively ‘soft’ duty. After all, I was in a hotel, and there were plenty of nice restaurants around,” Sajak admitted. “But I always felt better when I met guys who came into town from the field and thanked us for bringing them a little bit of home. I always thought it was strange that they should be thanking me, given what so many of them were doing on a daily basis.”
It just goes to show that the Wheel of Fortune host has always played an important role in providing people with entertainment.
“To this day, my fellow vets from that era repeat those thank yous,” Sajak said. “It’s really very humbling.”