Tag Archives: Darrell Shifty Powers Passes Away

Excuse Me While I Rant This Out

Staff Sergeant Darrell Shifty Powers

Staff Sergeant Darrell Shifty Powers

I have a fairly general rule when it comes to forwarded mails. They are almost immediately thrown into my recycle bin. Partly because I don’t have time to read all of the ones that are sent to me; partly because they are full of bullshit. This one contained the latter:

Darrell “Shifty” Powers was a tremendous man. A war hero, he fought in the Easy Company, 506th PIR during World War II – the group made famous by “Band of Brothers.” Regular readers know I’m an Easy-ophile, and post about them when they make news, so I wanted to read the e-mail forwarded to me (about a dozen times).

I’m not posting it here, but it is a story (possibly true) about a man who met Shifty inside the Philadelphia International Airport. Shifty appeared lost, and the man offered to help him to his plane, They got to talking, the realization of who Shifty was set in on the man, and the man offered Shifty his First Class seat.

Great story, right? Except in its first incarnation, the man who met Shifty was just some guy. Now the man has evolved into Chuck Yeager. Uh-huh. Right. I have no doubt that Shifty was a terrific man, and I have no doubt people admired him, but the whole story – if true at the time – has spun into a (truly) unbelievable tale.

The kicker, for me, is that the story ends with this:

Shifty died on Jan. l7 after fighting cancer.

Bullshit. Shifty died on June 17, 2009. I posted about it at the time, and linked the story (which did not include Chuck Yeager) at the time, too.

The morale of the story? Forwarded e-mails are mostly bullshit, so don’t waste your time sending them to me.

America Has Lost A True Hero

<i>Staff Sergeant Darrell Shifty Powers</i>

Staff Sergeant Darrell Shifty Powers

Staff Sergeant Darrell “Shifty” Powers, of Band of Brothers fame, passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 86.

Oh, and he passed away last month. Apparently, the country was too busy “mourning” Michael Jackson to take notice. We should all be ashamed of ourselves when an entertainer of questionable character is given more airtime than a genuine American hero. Darrell Powers deserved much, much better.

Here is the local newspaper article on his passing. If I may, I want to say something here. And to be honest, I am a little emotional, so it might not make a lot of sense, but I’m gonna write it, anyway.

Most of you know that I am a history buff. I especially gravitate toward the World War II era. The book that really got me started on the history bandwagon was Band of Brothers. I read it before I ever saw the miniseries, and it may be my favorite book of all time. Cover to cover, I have read it over a dozen times. I also put up a few BoB banners at the old blog, if you remember. When the HBO miniseries came out, I thought, “There is no way it will be better than the book.” In my opinion, it wasn’t, but it was damned close. I immediately purchased the box set and started watching.

I have never finished it.

Like Commander Adama’s book quirk in a Battlestar Galactica episode, I also felt that if I finished the miniseries, then the entire terrific experience would end. That last DVD? Never been touched. It’s stupid, but what can I say? I’ll watch it someday, but not for a while.

Anyway, no book has touched me the way Band of Brothers has. Major Richard Winters – who lives in Lancaster, PA – is my personal hero. My greatest life dream would be to meet him and shake his hand. No discussion, no fawning, just a handshake and a big “Thank you.” He is my idol.

“Wild Bill” Guarnere lives in Philadelphia. I would love to meet him, too, but I’m just an idiot loudmouth blogger, so I keep my expectations low. While I have never met these men – Guarnere, the late Lewis Nixon, the late Carwood Lipton, and Don Malarkey – I felt like I have known them all my life. What makes them special is that they – and almost every other World War II veteran – do not believe they are special. They did their job and did it well, honors and medals be damned. We could use a few men like that today – and you’ll find them serving in our modern American military.

Darrell “Shifty” Powers didn’t believe he was better than anyone else. He didn’t believe he was special. But that attitude, backed up be heroic actions showed the rest of us that he was better; that he was special. And now he’s gone, and we cannot tell him how truly special he was.

Neptunus Lex has a terrific e-mail from someone who met Shifty. Be forewarned, though: it’s a tear-jerker.

Thank you so much for your service, Shifty. We all owe you a debt that can never be repaid.