On Monday, January 29, 2024, The Paramount Veterans Network welcomed the TAPS surviving family of US Army SGT John Sakmann to the CBS Mornings studio, in the heart of Times Square. The family was given a production tour. They also had the opportunity to see the behind the scenes and what it takes to put CBS Mornings on the air. The Sakmann family enjoyed being part of the behind-the-scenes experience. They met and chatted with the cast of CBS Mornings, Gale King, Nate Burleson, Tony Dokoupil and Vladimir Duthiers. At one point, while Vladimir was recording live on one of his segments, the family sat at the news desk, during the live production.
This event was created through the Paramount Veterans Network with TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), and with the support of Paramount Veterans Network’s Ambassador Toni Trucks who is a TAPS Honorary Board Member. “We are grateful to the team at CBS Mornings, Rachel, Ray and crew, for making this experience for military surviving families a memorable one. Gayle, Nate, Anthony, and Vladimir were so gracious with their time and we can’t thank them enough. This was a truly special moment for the Sakmann family.”, says Betty Diaz, Paramount Veterans Network
“We are thankful to the CBS Mornings co-hosts and crew for the warm welcome of our military surviving family and the shared moments of joy and connection on set. We are so appreciative to work with the Paramount Veterans Network via our Stars4TAPS program to create these kinds of meaningful opportunities for TAPS families to honor their Fallen Heroes with the media and entertainment industry." Jessica Harper, Sports & Entertainment, TAPS.
SGT John Sakmann Biography (From TAPS)
SGT John Sakmann
United States Army
September 7, 1982 – January 31, 2021
TAPS Fallen Hero: United States Army Sergeant John Sakmann was a hilarious, loving and thoughtful person. On September 11, 2001, he ran towards Ground Zero and spent the day helping where he could. Seeing that he could make a difference, his first thought after 9/11 was to join the military.
John served as an Army Ranger medic from 2002 through 2006. He rose to the rank of sergeant, but was known as “Doc” to his battle brothers. He served two tours of duty; Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.
Even after his service, John volunteered to help in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where he used his military medical training to give back to those who needed help. John also excelled at his job as an electrician for the United Nations; proud in the fact that he could make a living and provide for his family. Unfortunately, he was tormented by some demons. Between his PTSD, bipolar disorder and a traumatic brain injury, he did not have an easy return to civilian life.
Sadly, on January 31, 2021, SGT John Sakmann lost his battle with PTSD.
SGT John Sakmann is survived by his wife, Jessica; their two children, Cadence and Mackenzie; mother, Carol Sakmann, brother, Doug Sakmann; sister, Catherine Verrelli, mother-in-law, Diane Moreau; and his nieces and nephews as well as the extended Sakmann, Verrelli and Moreau families who are devastated by this loss as he was loved so deeply by so many.