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Where Was Pat Sajak Before His 'Wheel of Fortune' Fame? Inside His Military Career During The Vietnam War

where was pat sajak before wheel of fortune
Source: mega

Jul. 2 2022, Published 12:05 a.m. ET

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Pat Sajak made his name as one of the most popular game show hosts of all time, but who was he before his hosting gig with Wheel of Fortune?

Patrick Leonard Sajdak was born on October 26, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois, where he was raised by his parents Leonard and Joyce Sajak, but the now 75-year-old television personality got his start in show business in an unexpected place — while serving in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.

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where was pat sajak before wheel of fortune
Source: mega

In the late 1960's, Sajak signed on that dotted line and started his career in the United States Army, but instead of joining up as a mechanic or a member of the infantry, he was trained as a finance clerk. Later, he served as a radio disc jockey for the American Forces Vietnam Network hosting the Dawn Buster radio show that was recognized for opening with Adrian Cronauer's iconic, "Good Morning, Vietnam!"

"It was a phrase I shouted virtually every weekday at 6 a.m. from the studios of the American Forces Vietnam Network in Saigon between October 1968 and December 1969," Sajak said of his stint on the show in an article he penned for USO.org. "...That became the signature sign-on of every early-morning DJ on AFVN."

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THE HOST WITH THE MOST! EVERYTHING TO KNOW ABOUT 'WHEEL OF FORTUNE' STAR PAT SAJAK: PHOTOS

"I used to feel a bit guilty about my relatively ‘soft; duty. After all, I was billeted in a hotel, and there were plenty of nice restaurants around. But I always felt a little better when I met guys who came into town from the field and thanked us for bringing them a little bit of home," he continued. "I always thought it was strange that they should be thanking me, given what so many of them were going through on a daily basis. But they reminded me of the importance of providing entertainment to those who serve — something the USO knows very well. To this day, my fellow vets from that era repeat those thank-yous, and it’s really very humbling."

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where was pat sajak before wheel of fortune
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Following his discharge from the Army, he was a radio show host in Kentucky for a year, before going on to work as a weatherman for NBC News in the 1970's.

Sajak helmed several smaller hosting gigs and news jobs until 1981, when Wheel of Fortune creator, Merv Griffin, asked Sajak if he would be interested in taking over the famed puzzle show.

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