Pat Sajak is a true broadcasting professional. For the longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host, being a radio DJ in a warzone was just another job. And it was a pretty good gig at that.
It’s important to highlight the fact that Sajak wasn’t dealing with actual, heated combat. He was stationed at a desk in a radio station. And yes, he got to say “Good morning, Vietnam,” just like Adrian Cronauer. But all of that being said, Saigon in the late 1960s was far from a safe place to be.
And hearing him talk about his experience in Vietnam, you’d think he was talking about a job he had at a radio station in Atlanta. In an interview with Dan Le Batard on “Highly Questionable” back in 2012, Sajak described how he looked at the job.
“It was the biggest market I’d ever worked in ’til the time,” the longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host said. “I had half a million American troops. I was the ‘Good morning, Vietnam’ guy, and yeah, it was actually fun. If you can call a war fun. But it was good training for me. And, you know, the enemy never got one of our records. I’m very proud of that.”
Pat Sajak made the most of his opportunity. He called it good training, but the number of listeners he had was equivalent to a major market in the United States. A 500,000 person market is the same size as Portland, Baltimore, Las Vegas… take your pick.
The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Wasn’t at the Front, but War is War
Pat Sajak was too humble and respectful of the sacrifices made during Vietnam to admit being truly scared in his role as a radio DJ. But he deserves some credit. He did make small sacrifices, of course. But the contributions he made to morale were not insignificant.
Those broadcasts were a source of comfort to hundreds of thousands of men who faced death on a daily basis. So you did well, Pat. In the interview on “Highly Questionable,” though, the “Wheel of Fortune” host went on to talk about what the environment was like.
“Well, you know, there was terrorist stuff going on in the city, in Saigon where I was,” Sajak said. “But I wasn’t out at the front. And, you know, it’s funny. You get used to anything. I would look out the window, and there’d be these pretty streets and I’d eventually lose sight of the fact that there was barbed wire and tanks going by. You adapt to things. So after a while, it just seemed like another job in a big market.”