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Red, White and Blue
True Colors of Paul Whytsell
by Maricia Mlynek
     

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Born in Henry’s Fork on May 29, 1933, Paul Whytsell is a native Calhouner.

He recalls the Craddock Hill one room schoolhouse and the eight grades he attended there. He continued his secondary years in Grantsville and graduated from Calhoun County High School in 1951.

After graduation, Whytsell worked at an automotive body shop in Spencer until he enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

At 19, he found himself in basic training at Fort Dix, N.J. After graduation from basic, he spent only three days at home before he was shipped to the 1st Calvary Division for amphibious landing training in Japan.

Three months of grueling drills and countless maneuvers readied Private Whytsell for the next 17 months of combat in the mountains and valleys of Korea.

 

In November, 1952, he set foot into Outpost Harry in Korea, which would be his forward operating base during his time overseas. He would see a great deal of the Korean countryside before returning home.

After attaining the rank of corporal, he was moved between Papasan Mountain, Chorwon Valley, OP Harry, and several other locations to fight an ongoing battle.

During his service in those foreign lands, he suffered more than the pains of combat, but also the agony of horrible conditions, unbearable weather, and impossible terrain.

Today, Whytsell is 100% disabled from the frostbite he endured in the Korean winter of 1952.

With the end of conflict came the return home for many soldiers. In December, 1953, Sgt. Whytsell was honorably discharged from active duty.

“I was not a hero,” said Whytsell, “I was just a soldier from West Virginia. Many of our soldiers never returned. I guess I am one of the lucky ones.”

His service to his country did not end there, as he enlisted in the National Guard and served four more years stateside.

After the Army, Whytsell worked for 11 years at Weather Tite Factory, Bedford, Ohio.

He returned to Calhoun County in 1969 and was employed by the Dept. of Highways. He worked for the construction division for 24 years before retiring.

Whytsell became active in Disabled American Veterans in 1998. He and Freda, his wife of 36 years, have been the DAV van coordinators for the last 10 years, nine of which Paul served as a driver.

He has also been an active member of VFW Post No. 5959 for 45 years.

During his six years as VFW commander, he was awarded a trip to the national conventions in Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, N.C.

In 1979-80, he served as 1st District Commander in District 5, which consists of Calhoun, Wirt, Ritchie, Wood, Jackson, Roane, and Pleasants counties.

He remains involved in the VFW as the service officer and adjutant.

“I am proud of the 45 years that I have belonged to an outfit like the VFW Post No. 5959. We help each other and understand each other. We are comrades. We have been where it’s been. We are brothers,” he said as he sat in front of the plaque of the original VFW Post Charter.

I have spent several hours with Whytsell as he assisted me with a series of articles on the VFW, but, as he spoke of his own service to our country and his own sacrifice and dedication, I felt like I was truly getting a glimpse into who he is.

The colors he wears on his veteran’s cap are the colors branded on his heart and in his actions.

A patriot, a veteran, and a son of Calhoun, he exemplifies the U.S. flag and all it represents.

The true colors of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Whytsell, at the age of 19 and now at the age of 74, are without a doubt--Red, White and Blue.

“To all the veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Afghanistan, and Iraq, you will never be forgotten,” said Whytsell.

The Final Inspection

The soldier stood and faced God,

Which must always come to pass.

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as brightly as his brass.

“Step forward now, you soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To my church have you been true?”

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,

“No, Lord, I guess I ain’t,

Because those of us who carry guns

Can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays,

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I’ve been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But I never took a penny

That wasn’t mine to keep . . .

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place

Among the people here,

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,

It needn’t be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don’t, I’ll understand.”

There was silence around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the soldier waited quietly

For the judgment of his God.

“Step forward now, you soldier,

You’ve borne your burdens well,

Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets;

You’ve done your time in hell.

A reprint from The Good Old Days

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