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First Name: Darrell

Last Name: Powers

Birthplace: Clinchco, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: C.

Date of Birth: 13 March 1923

Date of Death: 17 June 2009

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 1942 - 1945
Darrell C. Powers

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Darrell C. "Shifty" Powers
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
World War II

The Early Years

Darrell C. Powers was born on 13 March 1923 in Clinchco, Dickenson County, VA. As a youth, Shifty spent a great deal of time in the outdoors hunting game. The shooting skill he gained while hunting proved very useful when he became a soldier. After he graduated from high school, Shifty volunteered for the paratroopers with his good friend, Robert "Popeye" Wynn. They enlisted in the U.S. Army on 14 August 1942 at Richmond, VA.

Military Service

Shifty Powers went to war with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Powers jumped into Normandy on D-Day and, like many other paratroopers that day, missed his drop zone. He eventually came in contact with Floyd Talbert and the two found their way to Easy Company.

Later, he also participated in the Allied force's "Operation Market Garden" in the Netherlands, and in the Battle of the Bulge in Foy, Belgium. While in Foy, a German sniper shot three members of Easy Company, and everyone ran for cover. With the aid of C. Carwood Lipton, Shifty made a heroic attempt and silenced the German by shooting him right between the eyes with his M1 rifle. Company members say Powers saved many lives that day. 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. The tale was 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 artillery piece! Shifty's outdoor experience and keen observation abilities allowed him to spot that discrepancy from a distance of nearly a mile away and amongst a literal forest of other trees. Had he not spotted that enemy weapon, many lives might have been lost.

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

Medals, Awards and Badges

Bronze Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Service Stars and Arrow Device
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Croix de guerre with Palm
Presidential Unit Citation with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge with 2 Combat Jump Stars

He was also awarded the French Liberation Medal and the Belgian WWII Service Medal.

The Post-War Years

After being honorably discharged from the Army as a Staff Sergeant in the postwar demobilization, Powers became a machinist for the Clinchfield Coal Corporation.

Shifty 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 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 Staff Sergeant Powers' full life story.

The "Band of Brothers" HBO Mini-Series

Bravery, and dignity, was a constant, running thread in the life of "Shifty" Powers, both during and after his life as an Army sharpshooter in the actual "Band of Brothers." During the war, he fought brutal battles against the German army across France and Belgium.

After the war, Powers served as an eloquent representative for the men he fought with: At one point during the "Band of Brothers" mini-series, he appeared on camera to talk in moving, humane fashion about his grim but necessary task during the war - killing the enemy.

Powers was also a loyal, steadfast representative for the country for which he fought: From graciously meeting with a former enemy German soldier, to eagerly accepting any chance to speak with modern-day members of the U.S. military.

Ivan Schwarz, a producer on the "Band of Brothers" HBO series, remembers Powers as a "kind, generous soul with a great sense of humor." "Shifty was an incredibly humble human being," said Schwarz, now executive director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission in Cleveland, Ohio.

"He was like most of the other [Easy Company] soldiers we met for the series. They were good guys who were kind of shocked that, 50 years later, people were making a big deal over them for just doing their duty." "That's exactly how [Powers] was, too," Schwarz said.

Death and Burial

Staff Sergeant Darrell C. "Shifty" Powers died on 17 June 2009, of cancer, in Dickenson County, VA. He was 86 years old. He is buried at Temple Hill Memorial Park, Castlewood, Russell County, VA.

Reflections from Shifty Powers' Daughter

"The world depended on them. They depended on each other."

That was the tagline for "Band of Brothers" the award-winning 2001 HBO mini-series drama on the World War II experiences of Easy Company, a U.S. Army unit that fought bravely and fiercely across Europe.

But Darrell "Shifty" Powers' daughter, Margo Johnson, would add two more lines to describe her heroic father; one of the soldiers depicted in "Band of Brothers": "The world truly admired Darrell Powers. I absolutely adored him."

"I loved everything about my daddy," Johnson said. "He never bragged about what he did in the war. And for a lot of years, he never even talked much about what he did - unless someone asked him about it."

"But he truly was a hero to me," Johnson said. "Just like he'd been to the people who knew him as a soldier in a [mini-series]."

"He was a brave man, even to the end of his life," Johnson said of her father. "He's helping me be brave now, too."

Honoree ID: 2127   Created by: MHOH




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