Monday, June 29, 2009

Remembering Shifty Powers

Darrell "Shifty" Powers was born on March 13, 1923 in Clinchco, Virginia. He enlisted in the US Army during WW 2 and volunteered for the Paratroopers. He served with the famed E Co./2/506 of the 101st Airborne Division (the Band of Brothers). Shifty was an original member of Easy Company, training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia.

Darrell Powers passed away on June 17, 2009.
Even as an adult, Margo Johnson would find fake fuzzy spiders in her bed and shower. And they still scared her, much to father’s glee.

The 56-year-old said she and her father always played pranks on one another, even recently, after her father, Darrell Powers, was diagnosed with cancer in January 2008.

Powers, better known as Shifty and more widely known thanks to a book and television series featuring him and other World War II soldiers, died June 17. He was 86.

“Daddy had a very unique personality,” Johnson said. “He was always interested in everything. He loved reading and fishing and hunting.”

Powers made sure his kids, Johnson and his son, Wayne, got to spend plenty of time with him in the outdoors, trout fishing and squirrel hunting.
“He spoiled us,” Wayne said.

Even if they made a mistake, Johnson said, he was easy going.
“He always said about me that I didn’t pay attention and I talk too much,” she said. “One time I drove right through the garage door. I don’t know why I did it but I don’t think he was surprised.”

The men who served with Powers during World War II remember him in the same light.
“I can’t recall ever seeing him real angry at anything, I can’t remember him ever saying a mean thing to anyone,” said friend and fellow service member Earl “One Lung” McClung of Colorado.

“He was a real Southern gentleman and kind-hearted to everyone. We were real good friends.”
McClung said he and Powers had a chemistry, a way of making people laugh.

“Everybody said we should take our show on the road because we were pretty funny,” McClung said. “We’d just pick something right out of the blue and start talking about it. We’d go back and forth teasing and get people laughing.”

That was before the world knew of McClung and Powers and the rest of the men of the 101st Airborne’s 2nd battalion, 506th regiment, E Company. Easy Company. The Band of Brothers. And it was a Powers his own kids didn’t get to know until after the 1992 Stephen Ambrose book “Band of Brothers, E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne: From Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.”

Johnson said when her father talked about the war, it was funny stories, mostly about his buddies.
“Some of the guys would come to visit and they’d tell funny stories but never anything about it,” Wayne Powers said. “He never talked about it or dwelled on it.”

Neither Johnson nor her brother had heard many of the stories of their young father’s life as a soldier until after the book came out.
“They only told us the basics,” he said. “Nobody other than these guys know everything about it. I’m sure there are things that they did that nobody will ever know about other than these guys.”
“I learned about another part of him,” Johnson said.

Read the rest here.
I find it strange that the US Congress could not find the time for a moment of silence for Sgt. Powers, but did so for a nutcase called Michael Jackson.

Nor did the media even mention his passing.

Farewell Sgt. Powers and Thank You For What You Did To Set The World Free!


Maggie M. Thornton said...

I would think with the very few WWII vets left, each passing would be mentioned in Congress. They have few to still celebrate.

What a lovely post. You know, one of the things I often hear about WWII veterans is how nice they were, sweet demeanors, and like this about Mr. Powers - never heard him say a mean word. It seems to be a legacy of these brave men and women.

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace "Shifty", and thank you.