I was in the army but never a sergeant. On the radio, Sergeant Sunshine just sounded better than Specialist 4th Class McElfresh.
My first job out of high school was as a radio disc jockey and newsman (reader) at a nearby radio station. How? One Sunday afternoon, my next door neighbor, Dickie, and I rode our motorcycles to the station’s parking lot (gravel) to see what it was all about.
We just sat outside and talked awhile when the on air disc jockey, Steve Whitmore, opened the door and walked outside to see what we were up to. He invited us inside and showed us around.
That was it. I was hooked. The next day I rode back to the station on my motorcycle and applied for a job. The station owner gave me some papers to fill out and required me to read some news and commercials.
I got the job.
What about Sergeant Sunshine? 18 months later I was in the army and transferred to the Far East Network in Japan. The new guy on the block got the radio shift nobody else wanted. Early morning. 5:00 am to 9:00 am.
Instead of the title Army Specialist 4th Class McElfresh, I was given the opportunity to select an on-air persona. I chose Sergeant Sunshine. I was not a sergeant. The base in northern Japan did not have much sunshine.
But it worked.
Sergeant Sunshine did early morning radio, afternoon drive-time radio (the base used a bus to transport everyone), and television news. That experience got me into a television and radio career after leaving the army.
It all started with a ride to the local station just to see what was going on.