Sigmund “Sig” Bajak – Rear Admiral, United States Naval Reserve Excutive – National Broadcasting Company

From a contemporary news report:

A former NBC executive and retired rear admiral in the Naval Reserve, died May 30, 1996, in White Plains Hospital of complications from cancer.

“He gave to life more than he got,” his wife, the former Dorothy M. Mershon of Scarsdale, said. “He was a very giving and active person.”

Bajak, a Buffalo native, joined the Navy in 1942 and served as a fighter pilot in the South Pacific during World War II. He served at the Navy Photo Center in Washington during the Korean War, commanded an anti-submarine squadron in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Berlin crisis and headed a combat camera group in Vietnam.

In 1975, he was promoted to rear admiral. As commander of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he served as commander of all Naval Reserve forces in the Northeast. After 42 years of continuous service with the Naval Reserve, Bajak retired in 1984. His decorations included two Air Medals, a Legion of Merit and area combat decorations.

Bajak graduated from Burgard Vocational High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Miami University of Ohio and a master of fine arts degree from Yale Drama School. In 1955, he joined NBC as a page. During his years there, he served as a unit manager for convention and election coverage and the early “Camel News Caravan” with John Cameron Swayze. He also worked as a production manager for Max Liebman and Steve Allen.

Bajak directed domestic and international film operations for NBC News for 20 years. He was then named production director for NBC’s sports coverage of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. He was director of planning at NBC Sports until he retired in 1985 to pursue a doctorate in Polish military history at the University of Warsaw. Besides his wife, survivors include a daughter, Jennifer B. Halperin of Murrysville, Pa.; three sons, Frank of Bogota, Colombia, Benjamin of Vail, Colo., and Jonathan of White Plains; his mother, Sophie; two sisters, Irene Palka of North Tonawanda and Helen Pasciak of Vestal; three brothers, Walter of Miami, Joseph and Henry; and five grandchildren. Burial with full military honors was Friday in Arlington National Cemetery. A memorial service was held Saturday in Scarsdale.


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