Airborne Icon and Hero Passes On - Godspeed, Darrell "Shifty" Powers
Posted By Blackfive • [July 20, 2009]
Update July 20th, 2009: Today we're doing a Virtual Memorial for Shifty Powers. Please blog, FaceBook and Twitter about Shifty. For Twitterers, at the WLF Twitter (@warriororg), we're using #shiftypowers to raise awareness.
Many, many of you have sent me notice that Shifty Powers of the heroic Easy Company, 2-506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, died on June 17th. I had no idea that he had passed on. I have written here a lot about Easy Company and even have an autographed photo (Bill Guarnere) on my desk of the jump into Holland (Market Garden).
If you use GoogleNews (any combo of Darrell and/or Shifty Powers), there are less then ten notices of his death. There are less than four articles about his passing on from "old media" news agencies.
Quite frankly, this is an affront to a genuinely good man. Shifty Powers received two Bronze Stars and a CIB and fought in every campaign that Easy Company was in. He was severely injured on his way home in a truck accident (the irony is that the men of Easy rigged the lottery to go home so Shifty would be first, but he ended up being one of the last to get home after an extensive hospitalization).
This email has gone viral about Shifty:
We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services.
I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers.
Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.
I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.
Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.
Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped.
At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped.
I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem." I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.
I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.
I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.
He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.
Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.
There was no parade.
No big event in Staples Center.
No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage.
No weeping fans on television.
And that's not right.
Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.
Rest in peace, Shifty.
"A nation without heroes is nothing." - Roberto Clemente
Here is a clip of the men of Easy Company (Shifty too) talking about heroes...
...Johnson said her father kept a busy schedule up until the end. Two
years ago, he visited soldiers stationed in South Korea and Japan. Last
September, had he not fallen ill, he would have traveled to Iraq.
He kept a busy schedule up till the end. Two years ago, he visited
soldiers in South Korea and in Japan. Last September, had he not fallen
ill, he would have made a stop in Iraq.
“I had his suitcase packed,” Johnson said.
Missing the trip overseas disappointed him, she said, especially the worry of disappointing the soldiers there.
“My daddy was a simple man, not complicated and very comfortable with
himself and approachable,” Johnson said. “He spoiled us. Right now I
don’t feel as safe. I know I’ll never be as loved.”...
Godspeed, Shifty. I'm sure the Jumpmaster has you cleared on the manifest.
» God rest Shifty Powers from Brutally Honest
Via BlackFive: We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services. I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers. Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Reg... [Read More]
Tracked on Jul 20, 2009 9:08:12 PM
» Goodby and Godspeed Darrell ¨Shifty¨ Powers from Homemade Sin
From Blackfive Today we're doing a Virtual Memorial for Shifty Powers. Please blog, FaceBook and Twitter about Shifty. For Twitterers, at the WLF Twitter (@warriororg), we're using #shiftypowers to raise awareness. "I could hear bullets and shrapnel hi... [Read More]
Tracked on Jul 21, 2009 4:24:30 AM
Advertise on Military Blogs!
Advertise on Right Blogs!
The Blog of War
"Grab it before the Pentagon orders it burned..." - Vanity Fair
"...nonpartisan patriotism is the common thread tying together these reflections, love letters and stories of combat. They make for riveting reading." - The Washington Post
Winner of the 2006 Gold Medal for Anthologies - Military Writer's Society of America
"This collection is an excellent introduction to an emerging form of war reporting." - Booklist
"...there is much to tell, and celebrate, in the tough, day-to-day work that our soldiers are doing in one of the most challenging environments any army has ever faced..." - The Philadelphia Inquirer
"...the collection is riveting...a worthy tribute." - The American Prospect
for more information and list of blogger/authors
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.