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Airborne Icon and Hero Passes On

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posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 11:19 AM

Airborne Icon and Hero Passes On - Godspeed, Darrell "Shifty" Powers

This email has gone viral about Shifty:

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.......(cont.)

I believe that a lot of folks here at ATS might want to know about this so that we can take a moment and reflect on the noble service of this humble and astoundingly brave individual.

He passed away June 17.

In case some of you don't know, he gained national prominence on the hit show "Band of Brothers".

There are not many of these outstanding heroes from 'Easy Company" remaining alive.

Rest in Peace Shifty....

[edit on 17-7-2009 by Snisha]

posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 11:42 AM
No parade ?
Thats gratitude for yea !!!

These people faught an insane war of cynical war masters and get treated as rubbish... I wish people stoped joining the army, there would be now wars. In my sweet bubble atleast..

posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 11:47 AM
yes we owe a great deal of gratitude to all those that fought in WWII. What we call wars today they would call a skirmish. My father fought in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets on an LST. He has some amazing stories.



posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 11:50 AM


posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 12:26 PM
If any of you get a chance to, every year in May, at Fort Bragg North Carolina, they have what is called All American Week. This event is a week long ordeal which includes a display of a combat equipped jump with about 400 paratroopers (myself included) and a Division Pass and Review, Which is pretty cool, seeing about 20,000+ in a huge formation, which ends with the division marching off of the field, led by WW2 veterans, from the 82nd Airborne Division. Many of which who have made the jumps into combat.

Each year, their numbers grow smaller and smaller. It's very sad. However, I have had the pleasure of meeting some of these gentlemen and talking with some of them. It's a very humbling experience. The veterans usually make it a point to go to this event and are around pretty much all week at all of the events.

Again if you are ever in the area around then, make it a point to go check it out. If not, whenever you see the VFW guys standing outside of your local grocery store, at the very least, shake their hand and tell them thank you.
Personally, when i get back from Iraq, i want to make it a point to go to a VFW home and meet a few more of these REAL heroes. And I suggest you make it a point at sometime to do the same. It won't be long before they are all gone from this earth.

R.I.P All those who have given their lives in defense of freedom.

posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 12:36 PM
OOORAAAH Shifty..........

A big salute to ya and men like you.

America needs to have more people of that mettle, people who will do the right thing no matter what the cost...

We lost our guts, and our back bone.......look what we are doing to the country that they protected, from the same sort of thing we are now allowing to happen.


posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 01:04 PM
Most of us in the US live within an easy drive of a VA hospital. Most of these are looking for volunteers. There are young men and women there convalescing, as well as the elderly, living out their lives. Volunteers can read, or just visit. These folks are the same as your granddad, aunt, cousin. Don't let the 'vet' label deter you from taking the time to become involved. The old WWII vet may be tickled just to have someone drop by to talk about baseball, or the weather. You don't have to be versed in history. You just have to care. There are a lot of Shifties out there who were never in a book, or mini-series.

posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 03:03 PM
One can walk among the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, Civil War soldiers, Spanish American war soldiers, WWI soldiers, WWII soldiers, Vietnam soldiers, and Iraqi/Afghanistan soldiers, and you'll note that it's always the same names.

As a Christian, I am compelled to think we only go around once, but on a more visceral level, I'm not too sure.

Not because of the names, but because of the nature of our soldiers who in spite of death, continue on in every generation.

Cut from the same cloth, the soldiers of ancients would be right at home with modern soldiers, sharing the same thoughts, same fears, and same values.

Powers never let on of his experiences to his family, and they became aware after the book was released.

Humble, solid, unassuming, quiet, mentally tough, courageous, and a man of pride.

Something rare today, but commonly found among OUR soldiers.

See you on the other side, Shifty.

posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 05:35 PM
Any time a 'Brother In Arms' passes America is a little weaker, but when a soldier, a hero and American fighting man such as Shifty passes, a part of our national soul goes with him... A drink of rye for the fiddlers green & we'll see you on the high road brother, God's speed.

Thank you Snisha for the thread.

[edit on 7/17/2009 by SGTChas]

posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 05:50 PM
Thanks for this op.
It made me tear up but also to take a moment to remember someone who obviously did what he did because he "believed in something bigger than himself."
Many today who claim to be or "leaders" should be ashamed by his example.
Wishing his family peace.

posted on Jul, 17 2009 @ 06:30 PM
The passing of another member of Easy Company brings the list of survivors down to 37. Every day, countless veterans of the "greatest war" meet their demise... We're losing a national treasure quietly, at an alarming rate.

Once in a great while, I am honored to catch a glimpse of Major Richard Winters, Ret. in public. He lives around 15 miles from me, and doesn't get out like he used to, but I get to see him. Once in a great while. I have not told him "thank you" in person yet. I'm not sure just what I would say to a man like that. If I see him again, I will be sure to express my supreme gratitude for all he has done.

It's an honor to run into men cut from this type of cloth, and a debt of honor is owed to these men that came from across the country. Bound together by honor, and brotherhood.

The sprit of such men live on, and we are blessed to have such men for inspiration.

They gave all they had, to preserve all that we had at home.

Godspeed Darrell Powers... Wherever you are.

Thanks for the reminder, Snisha.

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 11:00 AM
Thanks for the poignant account from your experience meeting one of "The Greatest Generation," at the airport. I would have given that man my seat as well. It is a shame that so many forget their sacrifice and what happened at D-Day, Stalingrad, Battle of Britain, Guadacanal, Okinawa, The Bataan Death March, and the other battles of the Second World War. I am glad that you were there to honor that man and his sacrifice for all of us. Everyone let that man walk by, and not a word, but you made the effort to make him feel appreciated.

Both of my grandfathers served in the Second War War. One was in Europe and actually stormed the beaches of Normandy and the other was in the Navy as a Seabee who had to endure bombing runs by the Japanese at his construction sites. They never talked about the war that much to me or my parents. Although my mother said that her father had nightmares throughout his life and he died when he was 78. I'm glad we were able to get as much information as we have up to this point in commemorating the soldiers of the WWII. RIP Shifty and to all who participated in World War II on both sides.

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 11:24 AM
Wow..That's one hell of a story! I was having trouble sleeping two nights ago and at about 2 Am decided to just get up and find some entertainment. I grabbed the first DVD that came to hand and popped it into the machine. Sat down and opened a cold one! The movie I picked up was 'Saving Private Ryan"!
Sitting there watching several thoughts came to mind. One was the dogged determination of even the loudest complainers and how their intestinal fortitude always came to the forefront when things got nasty.
The other was how these brave men(and women) have been treated in nearly every war the US has engaged in. Some get fine treatment but some get almost none and what they do get is absolute minimum. What frosts me the most though is the treatment they get from those with no intestinal fortitude at all. They think nothing of spitting on them. Degrading them verbally. Intentionally causing them pain for no good reason other than they can.
They are the ones who need to be put in the front lines during an attack like D-Day! Maybe they would appreciate the rights they so loudly proclaim when they see fit to attack our service folks. I'm not talking about true conscientious objectors. I'm talking about the loud mouthed morons that have no soul or honor themselves!
This was harsh, but when I read about folks like this fine man, it just digs into me to my soul that so many forget what these fine men and women sacrifice every day in memories and physical pain to allow them to run off at the mouth!


[edit on 7/18/2009 by ZindoDoone]

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 12:17 PM

Originally posted by Jakes51

Thanks for the poignant account from your experience meeting one of "The Greatest Generation," at the airport.

Just for clarification, I was not the individual that penned that particular e-mail.

It originated from a gentleman named Mark Pfeifer.

I just wanted to post this info because I knew that there were some of us here at ATS that could appreciate Shifty's service and acknowledge/honor his passing.

I think that it is shameful that the MSM failed to provide any substantial coverage of this topic.

I believe that Shifty would be greatly appreciative of ALL of the responses in this thread though.

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 01:49 PM

Originally posted by Snisha
I just wanted to post this info because I knew that there were some of us here at ATS that could appreciate Shifty's service and acknowledge/honor his passing.

You are quite correct Snisha.
I saw this posted over at Blackflag, but it was a nice suprise to see it here since a few of us were fortunate enough to stand-in-the-door and follow Shifty's ripcord in some small measure.

The only appropriate words I can think of to say to Shifty are...




[edit on 7/18/09 by makeitso]

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