[Submitted by Ken Kalish, August 31, 2015.]
The Conservative Wheelman
[Submitted by Rick Fredericksen, September 28, 2015.]
Taken from the Stars and Stripes for November 11, 2015.
The Daily Wire Article on Pat Sajak
[Posted in January 2019 by Dick Ellis.]
Patrick L. "Pat" Sajak (Sajdak), SP5, USA
Story by Don B. Huff, LTC, USA (Ret'd)
The following was written by Littleton, Colorado resident LTC Huff for "The Military Officer" magazine.
In the Fall of 1968, I was assigned as the commanding officer of the Army's Central Finance and Accounting Office at Long Binh, Vietnam, with some 500 officers and enlisted men on board.
A few days after my arrival at Long Binh, a Navy commander came by and said "I'd like to take one of your pay clerks away from you and put him behind a microphone in Saigon to do the 'Good Morning, Vietnam' broadcast. Apparently, the previous broadcaster was about to rotate after his 12-month tour, and the pay clerk the commander was referring to had won an audition to replace the show's broadcaster.
First things first; I asked my guy's immediate supervisor what kind of finance clerk he was and learned that "He's the best you have at maintaining more pay records than anyone else in this office and with a zero error rate.
Seeing that I needed some time to consider his request, the commander let me sleep on it before making a decision. But the morale aspects of the situation were overwhelming. As an Army pay clerk, my guy was keeping approximately 750 other soldiers accurately and promptly paid, but as a broadcaster on 'Good Morning, Vietnam,' he would be keeping roughly 600,000 soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen more content than anyone else could at the time.
So I agreed to sacrifice my best pay clerk on two absolutely non-negotiable conditions: I wanted to see exactly where he would be located in Saigon and know the exact date when he would begin broadcasting. I also informed the commander that I expected to hear the pay clerk's voice on the radio the day he specified, or I would have a piece of the commander's posterior for breakfast!
The commander chuckled, agreed to my conditions, and showed me the broadcast cubicle, headset, and mike the pay clerk would be using, then told me the pay clerk's first day would be the following Monday morning. Sure enough, on the commander's specified date at 6 a.m., I heard my former pay clerk speak those memorable (and now famous) words, 'Good Morning, Vietnam!'
After a short leave back in the world, he returned for a full second tour in the same broadcast booth, his voice having soothed the ears and contented the minds of more than one million Americans in uniform during his total watch in that country.
For a few years after that, I lost track of that pay clerk-turned- broadcaster. I next saw him on TV doing the weather on one of the local channels in Los Angeles. A few more years passed before I saw him again, this time hosting the College Bowl on TV. Then, sometime in the 1980s, he landed the job he still has today-as the host of "Wheel of Fortune".
Through a training assignment goof for this professional broadcaster from Chicago, Pat Sajak started his draftee military career as an Army Finance Corps student and graduated at the top of his class. After a short period as an outstanding pay clerk, his next 20 months were spent behind the mike, where he greeted hundreds of thousands of American men and women in uniform with 'Good Morning, Vietnam' and the same friendly banter he uses today as host of 'The Wheel.' Although his job has changed, he still is a patriot of the first order and a fine American."
Individual Photo Albums & Stories
A link to a USO.org page by Pat Sajak
[Posted in July 2018.]