Darrell Powers was born in Clinchco, Va., on March 13, 1923 and he died in Clinchco, Va., on June 13, 2009. He worked as a machinist for the Clinchfield Coal Corp. and was married to his beloved bride, Dorothy, for 60 years.
Oh, and he helped saved the world in the 1940s.
Powers is better known as Shifty, a staff sergeant in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
The unit is better known now as the Band of Brothers, the subject of a book by historian Stephen Ambrose and of a subsequent HBO series.
Powers parachuted into Normandy and later into the Netherlands as he and his Band of Brothers helped liberate Europe from the Nazis.
He also was caught up in the Battle of the Bulge, where he shot a German sniper right between the eyes, saving the lives of his comrades.
Shifty's final visit to France in 2009, for the 65th anniversary of D Day, led to a chance encounter with Mark Pfeifer, a journalist then with Dow Jones.
Pfeifer noticed the Screaming Eagle of the 101st on Shifty's cap.
"Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving," Pfeifer said in an email.
"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."
Pfeifer knew he was in the presence of a war hero.
Pfeifer realized the D-Day anniversary had just passed and he asked Shifty if he had just visited