Soldiers in Normandy for D-Day meet Secretary of Defense

SAINTE-MÈRE-ÉGLISE, France — Amid commemorations for the 79th anniversary of D-Day, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin surprised at least one Soldier, Staff Sgt. Alexander Hrycyk, who did not expect to see the senior defense official in the dining facility.

Hrycyk was among 600 Soldiers from 19 different units who supported the "D-Day 79" ceremonies in the week leading up to June 6. The events commemorated the sacrifices and accomplishments of the Allied troops who landed in Normandy on that date in 1944.

Austin met with 20 Soldiers in the DFAC of the Logistics Support Area, run by the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater).

The 207th MIB (T) led the Task Force 79 mission command element from May 24 to June 7, synchronizing a large portion of the U.S. military's support to D-Day commemoration activities such as coordinating transportation to memorial sites and ceremonies, organizing accommodations and meals for Soldiers, and ensuring the safety and accountability of participants.

"With the same expertise, professionalism, and esprit de corps applied to operations on the African continent, the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater) provided high-caliber support to the D-Day 79 logistical and command and control mission, " explained Col. Stephen Skells, commander of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater). "The Army, INSCOM, and I are proud of the team for the value provided to this incredibly significant event and for the personal and professional growth taken from it."

Headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, the 207th MIB(T) conducts Intelligence activities in support of Multi-Domain Operations from Competition to Crisis in support of the USAFRICOM, USAREUR-AF, and SETAF-AF Commanders' operational decision-making in the USAFRICOM AOR, while building and maintaining intelligence readiness.

Austin was at the Normandy American Cemetery, taking part in the ceremony prior to his stop to meet with Soldiers. He expressed his gratitude for their efforts in representing the U.S. Army during several ceremonies.

"You get to do a lot of things when you're in the Army, but this [D-Day 79] you will remember the rest of your life," Austin said. "This is a part of your heritage,"

For Hrycyk, participating in D-Day shifted his perspective as to why serves, he said.

"D-Day renewed my motivation that I don't do this for myself," Hrycyk continued. "I do it for my family and, on a larger scale, for the collective well-being of others."