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America Supports You: Servicemembers Spin Wheel on TV Game Show

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2006 – It's Armed Forces Week on "Wheel of Fortune."

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"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak chats with contestants during the popular game show's Armed Forces Week, which airs April 3-7 in most U.S. markets. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In an effort to highlight the U.S. military, one of the world's most popular television game shows is featuring 15 members of the armed forces in this week's competition.

The episodes, taped in February in Culver City, Calif., are a way for the show to express its appreciation for the military, said Amy Prenner, the senior unit publicist for Sony Pictures, which produces the show.

"We've done a week like this once before in San Diego," Prenner said. But this week features servicemembers from all over the United States.

This should make the host Pat Sajak feel right at home. Sajak was an Army broadcaster in Vietnam. He continued Adrian Cronauer's "Good Morning, Vietnam" greeting from 1968 through 1970.

"This is a tough time for our men and women, and they are doing some tough work, and not always with universal appreciation for what they are doing," Sajak said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel. "This is our way of reminding Americans of the great work they do and our way of showing a little appreciation and, hopefully, spreading a little money their way."

Harry Friedman, the show's producer, said he appreciates the sacrifices U.S. servicemembers make. "We're a game show; we're all about having fun," Friedman said. "But we also have great respect for our armed forces, the men and women who serve in every single branch."

The show listed participating servicemembers without their ranks. They are:

  • Beran Young, U.S. Navy, Naval Medical Center San Diego;
  • Vince Boncich, U.S. Army, Ft. Bragg, N.C.;
  • Diana Aragon, U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, Calif.;
  • Paul Cemanec III, U.S. Navy ROTC at San Diego State University;
  • Mindy Freeman, U.S. Air Force, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.;
  • Daniel Norton, U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendelton, Calif.;
  • Rashad McKinney, U.S. Army, Los Alamitos, Calif.;
  • Charri Witucki, U.S. Air Force, Hurlburt Field, Fla.;
  • Kevin Hunter, U.S. Marine Corps, Naval Air Station Miramar, Calif.;
  • Jack Landreth, U.S. Marine Corps, Naval Air Station Meridan, Miss.;
  • Rick Hawkins, U.S. Coast Guard, Long Beach, Calif.;
  • Victoria Dourgherty, U.S. Air Force, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.;
  • Shawn Purvis, U.S. Air Force, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.;
  • Joe Stager, U.S. Marine Corps, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; and
  • Helen Knight, U.S. Army, Fort Irwin, Calif.
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