From Pennsylvania, to Tennessee, to the Pentagon & Back
I always enjoy talking to a former soldier, because no matter what his story is, I am proud to hear it.
I try to understand a relevant part of life that I have never been involved in. So, it was with great respect that I interviewed Army veteran Frank Wypa, a career soldier whose strong character and love of his country was revealed, while he served his country in intelligence, retiring from the Pentagon in 1964.
There wasn’t really much Frank could offer me about what he did in intelligence, since it was and will always remain top secret.
Frank Wypa, age 94, was born in Pennsylvania and he was drafted into the Army in 1940. He was later transferred to Tullahoma, Tennessee. “I use to drive to Gallatin, Tn., from Tullahoma to the dances that had at Trousdale Place and that is where I met my wife, Lillie Mae, whose sister was Brenda Coley’s mother.”
Frank says Lillie invited him to lunch the next day in 1942, and as they say the rest is history. In 1943, the couple said their “I do’s” at the courthouse in Gallatin, and they spent 64 wonderful years together before she passed away in 2007.
“After we married Lillie went back to Tullahoma with me,” Frank recalled, “and we stayed there until I was sent somewhere else.”
“I almost went overseas during World War II, when I was with the 2nd Ranger Batallion,” Frank said, “but by the grace of God I was transferred to another organization. They hit Omaha Beach and most of them were killed. I was suppose to have gone with them, but fortunately I guess it wasn’t my time.”
“I can’t tell you anything about intelligence, because it is top secret even today,” explained Frank. “However, I do remember a time when I was at the Pentagon and we went to the mountains where the President’s retreat was. That is when we had the underground tunnels, but that is all I will say.”
Frank was at the Pentagon the last five years of his service and he retired as a Command Sergeant Major, which is the highest rank you can get as a enlisted man. “I did make a tour in Germany and Korea, but it was after the war. As I said I was lucky that I was in intelligence.”
The couple settled in Virginia and Frank went to work at First Virginia Bank, retiring from there also. Lillie worked at the bank in the Pentagon and she retired from there. “Lillie is buried at the Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.,” said Frank, “and when my time here is over I will be buried beside my beloved wife. We will be together again.”
In May of 2013 Frank moved from Virginia to Tennessee, because of his loving and devoted niece, Brenda Coley. “Brenda has been instrumental in my well being, flying back and forth every two months to look after me,” noted Frank. “She is a wonderful person so I decided just to move here and I am enjoying my apartment at the White House Assisted Living facility.”
“I have met many people in Lafayette and I just love everyone,” he added. “They are beautiful people. I drive around by myself and I don’t worry about getting lost.”
Frank Wypa graduated from Hanover Memorial High School in 1937 in Lee Park, Pennsylvania. He is one of nine siblings and he will be 95-years-old on February 7.