Colonel Frank M. Brandstetter, U.S. Army Retired


Brandy: A Portrait of an Intelligence Officer is the life story of Frank M. Brandstetter, a man who gathered “the dots” and their connections for more than a half century. Frank M. “Brandy” Brandstetter was born into Polish-Austrian nobility and immigrated to the United States when he was a teenager. As a U.S. Army volunteer, his command of multiple languages made him perfect for an intelligence career. After graduating from the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, he was trained by the British MI in the London Cage before he jumped with the famed 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment (Band of Brothers) on D-Day and led his IPW (Interrogation of Prisoners of War) team into World War II. He served as General Matthew B. Ridgway’s trusted aide with the XVIII Airborne Corps until the end of the war and then with General Ridgway when they were assigned to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and the fledgling, original, five-nation United Nations Organization. After his release from active duty, Brandy continued his 40 years in uniform as a U.S. Army Reservist feeding intelligence information to his “big brothers” in the Office of the Army Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) in the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI, and the CIA.

As a civilian, Brandy earned his way up the ladders of responsibility and wealth through his investments in the hotel business and real estate development. This would take him to exotic and informative places from coast to coast in the United States, then to Jamaica, to Cuba, and to Acapulco, Mexico where he remained. Although his positions in the hotel business would serve as perfect “fronts” for a spy, they were legitimate. At his San Souci Hotel in Ocho Rios, he entertained and listened to learned travelers and British MI officers. Brandy was manager of the Havana Hilton when Castro came to power in Cuba in 1959 and set up his command headquarters in the Conrad Hilton Suite where they participated in the televised Jack Paar interview. Brandy assisted a Frenchman named Philippe de Vosjoli in escaping Cuba. Their mutual trust and friendship would lead to another escape years later when Philippe defected from his job as a spy with the French SDECE because the KGB had infiltrated the de Gaulle government. Brandy provided Philippe and his wife a safe house at the Las Brisas Hotel he was running in Acapulco. The Las Brisas also became a safe house for Raya Kiselnikova, a Russian decoder at the KGB-infiltrated Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. Both Raya and Philippe would provide priceless information through Brandy’s pipelines and connections, and there were many others. Brandy’s adventures would take him completely around the world to China, Greece, Cyprus, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Argentina, Yugoslavia, and many other intriguing places at times when security threats were fomenting.

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