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A Hero!!!

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Unread 03-02-2011, 03:26 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
A Hero!!!

A genuine American Hero "Shifty" died January 17, 2011. Please do me a favor and pass this on so that untold thousands of American citizens can read the story of one citizen soldier and a genuine American hero.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry Division. If you've read Band of Brothers or seen it on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

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 five 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 is, and I know what D-Day was."

He then 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. 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 who still care is enough to make an old man very happy." As he spoke, his eyes were tearing and mine are brimming up now as I remember that moment.

Shifty lost his fight with cancer on Jan. l7. There was no parade. No big event in the Staples Center. No wall-to-wall back-to-back 24/7 news coverage. No weeping fans on television. And that's not right!

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way.

Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty and thank you for your courage and humility in service to our country.

Chuck Yeager, Maj. Gen. [ret.]
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 03-02-2011, 07:20 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4,400
Re: A Hero!!!

God what a story. I love meating these guys. I never have considered what I have endured to be even close to the level of what they did.

May I meet him in the halls of Valhalla
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"
If you want to shoot Bergers start here!
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Unread 03-03-2011, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: MS
Posts: 1,652
Re: A Hero!!!

Just bumping this up cause more need to read it. It is so sad to watch the last of America's greatest generation leave us. Thanks for posting that Roy.
I admit that I know just enough to be dangerous.....but dangerous at ever extending distances.
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Unread 03-03-2011, 12:33 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sedalia, MO
Posts: 1,256
Re: A Hero!!!

Not to add to a depressing post, but Major Dick Winters died about a month ago as well. I almost hate watching Band of Brothers now, as most of the guys they interviewed in the first part of each segment have passed on. Major Dick Winters, Shifty Powers, Bull Randleman, Lt. Ronald Spiers and several others they interviewed are all gone now.

RIP, and Currahee to all of them.

Kevin Thomas
Co. C, 1/506th
101st ABN DIV
Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
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Unread 03-03-2011, 10:50 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Spring, TX
Posts: 353
Re: A Hero!!!

....One for the Airborne Ranger in the sky.

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Unread 03-04-2011, 10:42 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,654
Re: A Hero!!!

Roy I really appreciate how you offered Shifty your seat . That shows the character that you have Sir ! We should indeed be more thankful for these great men of war for they have paved the way for our freedom that we enjoy day by day . Thank you Shifty and to all of the men in uniform !

"Molon Labe"
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Unread 03-04-2011, 11:16 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 272
Re: A Hero!!!

Lest we forget...Amen
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