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Darrell Powers
Nickname Shifty
Born (1923-03-13)March 13, 1923
Died June 17, 2009(2009-06-17) (aged Script error: No such module "age".)
Place of birth Clinchco, Virginia
Place of death Clinchco, Virginia
Allegiance United States
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Army-USA-OR-06.svg Staff Sergeant
Unit E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Awards
Relations -Margo Johnson (daughter)
-Sandy Powers (daughter-in-law)
Other work Machinist

Staff Sergeant Darrell C. "Shifty" Powers (March 13, 1923 – June 17, 2009)[2] was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Powers was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Peter Youngblood Hills. The 2011 book Shifty's War by journalist Marcus Brotherton, published by Penguin/Berkley-Caliber, captures Sgt. Powers' full life story.[3] His story was also featured in the 2009 book We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from The Band of Brothers.

Youth[edit | edit source]

Powers was born in Clinchco, Dickenson County, Virginia. Shifty spent a great deal of time in the outdoors hunting game prior to joining the service.[4] This experience proved useful later as many of the skills he obtained helped him as a soldier. He graduated from high school.[5] Powers enlisted on August 14, 1942, at Richmond, Virginia.[5] and volunteered for the paratroopers with his newly met good friend, Robert 'Popeye' Wynn.

Military service[edit | edit source]

Powers jumped into Normandy on D-Day, missing his drop zone. He eventually came in contact with Floyd Talbert and the two made their way to Easy Company. He also participated in the Allied military operation Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, and the Battle of the Bulge in Foy, Belgium. While in Foy, a German sniper shot three members of Easy Company, and everyone hid for cover.[6] With the aid of First Sergeant Carwood Lipton, Shifty made a heroic attempt and silenced the German with his M1 right between the eyes.[6] Company members say Powers saved many lives that day.[6] He was generally considered to be the best shot in Easy Company. One of his most truly remarkable achievements, and a testament to the extraordinary gifts his backwoods upbringing brought to Easy Company, was the story documented in the Ambrose book, Band of Brothers, about the time in Bastogne when Shifty mentioned to his commanding officer that he noticed a tree in the distant forest that was not there just the day before. The "tree" was ultimately discovered to be a camouflaged German observation post. Were it not for Shifty's keen observations and outdoors experiences, many lives might have been lost, had that enemy weapon not been spotted from a distance of nearly a mile away and amongst a literal forest of other trees.

Later years[edit | edit source]

Because many men serving in the 101st lacked the minimum points required to return home, a lottery was put in place.[7] Shifty Powers won this lottery after the rest of the company rigged it in his favor by removing their own names, and was set to return stateside.[7] During the trip to the airfield, the vehicle that Shifty was in was involved in an accident and he was badly injured.[7] He spent many months recuperating in hospitals overseas while his comrades in arms arrived home long before he did.[7]

Honorably discharged from the Army in the postwar demobilization, he became a machinist for the Clinchfield Coal Corporation. He was married to his wife Dorothy for 60 years at the time of his death. He is listed as one of 20 men from Easy Company who contributed to the 2009 book We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers, published by Penguin/Berkley-Caliber. Powers died of cancer on June 17, 2009, in Dickenson County, Virginia. He is buried at Temple Hill Memorial Park, Castlewood, Russell County, Virginia.[8]

Band of Brothers[edit | edit source]

In the first edition of the book Band of Brothers, Ambrose wrote that in December 23 Powers disobeyed a direct order from Lieutenant Edward Shames to go out on a patrol because he was discouraged. Both Shames and Powers denied that had happened. Powers called it 'a slap in the face'. Upon request and verification, Ambrose deleted that story from the later edition of the book.[9]

Medals and Decorations[edit | edit source]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Presidential Unit Citation with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Good Conduct ribbon.svg Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Arrowhead
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
Croix de guerre 1939-1945 with palm.jpg Croix de guerre with palm
French Liberation Medal ribbon.png French Liberation Medal
Belgian World War II Service Medal
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
Cp2j.jpg Parachutist Badge with 2 combat jump stars

References[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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