WATCH: ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Star Pat Sajak Reflects on Service with Daughter Maggie for Veterans Day

by John Jamison

Legendary Wheel of Fortune figure Pat Sajak took an interest in broadcasting from a young age. It led him, of course, to fame as an iconic game show host. But before that, it gave him a unique opportunity during his military service in Vietnam. Pat and daughter Maggie reflected on his time in uniform and discussed the greater significance of Veterans Day in a video posted to Wheel of Fortune’s Twitter account.

Before we get it into it, we here at Outsider would like to express our gratitude for the men and women who have served. We appreciate all you’ve done and continue to do! And yes, that means you too, Pat Sajak. Even though, by his own admission, he barely made it through Army basic training back in the 1960s.

“I joined the Army in January of 1968 and served for three years,” said Sajak. “I was in college. I had done three years of college, and I did basic training like everyone else did. It’s amazing I made it out. I wasn’t the best at basic training, but I did it.”

Well, you made it through, Pat. And that’s what counts.

The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host’s Time in Vietnam

It wasn’t long before the Army shipped the longtime Wheel of Fortune host off to Vietnam. He landed squarely in the role of clerk-typist, even though he didn’t have much typing experience.

But his passion for broadcasting compelled him to apply for a position at the radio station in Saigon. After getting rejected multiple times, his persistence finally paid off. Pat Sajak eventually found himself in the very same morning time slot as the legendary Adrian Cronauer—the man who coined the phrase “Good morning, Vietnam!” and was famously portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie by the same name.

Cronauer was a tough act for Pat Sajak to follow, but he spent more than a year on the microphone before completing his service and heading home. And the nowiconic Wheel of Fortune host doesn’t have any illusions about his wartime service.

“I was very lucky. I felt almost guilty that I had this almost soft service there, but whenever I got to talking to the guys, and they found out what I did, they always thanked me for providing entertainment for them. So that gave me some solace in that sense,” Sajak continued.

The guys were right, Pat. Give yourself some credit. There’s plenty to be said for boosting morale in a warzone.

The Wheel of Fortune host finished by explaining the difficulties many of his peers experienced during the war and especially afterward. He emphasized the importance of doing what we can to support our veterans, even if it’s simply meaning it when we say, “Thank you for your service.”