My name is Darrell "Shifty Powers".
I will mention a few of my experiences that are not included in
the book, Band of Brothers:
D-Day, Normandy, France
The jump on D-Day in Normandy was all "Screwed
up!" Bill Keen, SGT. Taylor, and I were the last 3 men on the
stick on our plane. I could hear bullets "pinging" through
the plane as I jumped. Also, as I went out the door, the left motor
was hit by antiaircraft. I do not know if the plane made it back
to England. On the ground, Taylor and I got together in the shadows
of a hedgerow. We were trying to decide the best way to find the
other E-Company soldiers. While talking, we saw a soldier walking
across the field. (The night was fairly light since there was a
full moon.) I pointed my rifle at him and waited. Taylor clicked
his "cricket clicker." (We issued the clickers to use
as a recognition signal.) When the moon heard the click, he dropped
to the ground. This move made us think he was a German. I started
to shoot, but then decided to ask the oral password. Fortunately,
he gave the correct response. As it turned out, it was our buddy,
Bill Keen. He had lost his cricket and I almost shot him. This was
the first incident in which I almost shot Keen.
The second incident occurred in Holland. The LT.
Platoon called me into the Command Post. He told me there was a
twelve-man German combat patrol in the area. My orders were take
men and find the Germans. It was a dark night. (I mean really dark!).
I knew I would not be able to see my rifle sights, so I took 2 pistols
instead. We were moving down a road, stopping often to listen. I
was leading the group mainly because of my keen sense of hearing.
I stopped the column because, I could hear someone coming toward
us. The Lieutenant had told me there would be no GPs out there,
only the German Patrol. He advised us to shoot anyone we saw. I
could tell this was just "one man", not twelve Germans.
Instead of shooting, I asked him the password (which he knew). It
was Bill Keen. He had been in the hospital and was returning to
our platoon. We continued our search until almost daybreak, but
never did encounter the Germans.
Note: (Bill Keen
was later killed by artillery fire in Hagenau.)
Another incident I will mention occurred in Bastogne.
Easy Company was pulled off the line and put in reserve for a short
rest. There was about 10-12 inches of snow on the ground. We were
bivouacked in an area of Pine trees. We placed pine branches over
our foxholes to keep out some of the snow. I climbed out of my foxhole
at daybreak. I was standing among the trees all by myself. As I
looked at the mounds in the snow, I thought how it looked just like
a graveyard. Then the guys would pop up out these mounds. This was
such a weird sight! It looked as if they were climbing out of their
graves. One soldier asked me who was doing the shooting during the
night. I told him that I had not heard any shooting.
Then I remembered the dream I had that night:
I had dreamed that I was shooting at one of our own. I don't know
why. When I remembered my dream, I thought, "Man, I better
check this out!" I eased my pistol out and sure enough I had
fired it twice during the night. Then I started watching the guys
climbing out of their foxholes. I breathed a sigh of relief when
saw they were all allright. I was glad that I hadn't shot anyone
while sleepwalking during that snowy night in Bastogne. These are
just a few memories of my experiences during World War.
Darrell 'Shifty' Powers