Tampa team, veterans honor the greatest generation by retracing their steps on D-Day

A different generation of Americans and veterans took to the beaches of Normandy this week. They want to make sure the bravery and sacrifice of those American soldiers back in 1944 are never forgotten.

The Veteran-owned, Florida-based company GoRuck puts on a challenging D-Day Ruck every year.

This year, a Tampa team journeyed to France to retrace the steps taken by American heroes who fought to keep the world free 80 years ago.

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The younger generation honored the legacy of the greatest generation.

The team from Tampa included Denny Locascio of Lutz, who trained for this moment at his gym, Impact Fitness.

"My grandfathers were World War II veterans, so that was a big significance to me going there," he said.

READ: D-Day 2024: Bay Area veterans travel to Normandy for 80th anniversary

Locascio and his Tampa team took part in a 50-mile ruck, carrying 20 pounds, plus all of their food and water, for 17 hours.

From Utah Beach to Omaha beach, they had to navigate the 50 miles on their own through the pitch black night, through the countryside and the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc, which is where Americans suffered the greatest casualties.

"We're walking through these fields of just cow pastures and just grass fields and I catch myself sitting there, and you try to visualize ‘what were the guys doing?’ Or the paratroopers dropping down and coming up there. At Point Du Hoc, you see these 150 foot cliffs that these guys had to scale to get up there to fight the Germans," he said.

READ: D-Day 2024: Pinellas teacher, student honor fallen soldier

The journey took them past monuments and American cemeteries with rows and rows of fallen heroes who never left the shores of Normandy.

They thought not only of their disappearance, but remembering the glory of their spirit.

"You see these things and you catch yourself visualizing what we can overcome to conquer evil, conquer things that are bad," he said.

READ: D-Day 2024: 80th anniversary is personal for FOX 13's Mark Wilson

As they pushed their limits physically and mentally, Locascio started to play the National Anthem towards the end of their ruck.

An emotional last mile in France, he’s now bringing home lessons learned on the battlefield 80 years ago, still just as true today.

"I want to pass it along to not only my generation but even the next generation down to keep those stories alive. To keep those ideals of willpower and unity and overcoming all those things that we try to pass along to the next generation," said Locascio.

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