While Army Capt. Mark Walczyk carries out his duties Thursday, escorting members of the White House staff at ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, he’ll also be carrying some family history.
His paternal grandfather, John Walczyk, served as an Army engineer at Normandy, building bridges for Allied troops as they drove the Nazi forces out of France and ultimately out of all Europe.
Mark’s mother, Diane Walczyk, said her father-in-law died about five years ago.
She said her son, a Harborfields High School graduate, went through Army Reserve Officers Training Corps at Virginia Tech and has now served in the Army for about 10 years.
On Saturday, Walczyk, a paratrooper based in Germany, will participate in a parachute jump as part of the D-Day ceremonies.
“We are unbelievably proud of his service to country, ” his mother, who lives in Huntington, said. “He has sacrificed a lot, not been with his family for 10 years,” she said.”He’s been in Iraq, Egypt and other places. He was very close to his grandfather and this is a real honor for him.”
She said she had last seen her son when she visited him last year in Germany.
The captain is 30 years old. His father, Peter, lives in North Carolina, while two siblings, Peter and Sandy, live in Maryland and Maine, respectively.