Archive for the ‘military’ Category

Let’s Do a Dive for Shifty—and his Brothers

July 22, 2009

You may have recently seen a sentimental email about the June 17 passing of Darrell “Shifty” Powers at age 86.  If not, read about it here on Snopes:

While Snopes can’t verify the source of the reported encounter, “Shifty,” as he was known, was real, and so was his bravery as he served with Easy Company of the 101st Airborne in the dangerous days and months following his drop on D-Day.

It turns out that skydivers have a perfect opportunity to honor Shifty and his band of brothers. Sunday, August 16, is National Airborne Day, a day annually commemorated by Congress to remember and honor those servicemen who volunteered to earn their jump wings and serve our country as an airborne soldier. (Read my blog about last year’s National Airborne Day here:

So here’s the thought: Let’s honor Shifty—and his band of brothers—with a memorial skydive. Actually with lots of memorial skydives. Why not organize a memorial dive at your DZ that day? You could form an “A” for Airborne, an “E” for Easy Company, or a “101” for the 101st. Or form a star (if large enough, let a veteran fly in the center), and facing each other with joined grips, give thanks to Shifty and all those who set aside their lives, answered their country’s call, and literally saved the world.

So do a dive for Shifty and his band of brothers and let us know how it went. Send your description of the jump and any photos or links to videos to You don’t have to stop there. Nearly every assisted living facility has WW II veterans who would thoroughly enjoy a visit by a bunch of skydivers expressing appreciation for their service. After all, we not only owe them for their service; we also owe them for sowing the seeds for our sport. It was post-war veterans that wanted to continue jumping out of airplanes who began what became the sport of skydiving.


National Airborne Day

August 13, 2008

There couldn’t be greater contrast than the civilian sport of skydiving and the use of parachutes by military “airborne” units. Skydiving is all about fun, with safety first. Airborne operations are all about getting soldiers down quickly or covertly. But the two parachuting purposes share a kinship and actually owe much of their existence to the other. That’s why it’s appropriate for all skydivers to take moment to reflect this Saturday, August 16, which has been specially designated by the U.S. Congress and various state legislatures as National Airborne Day. Since 2002, National Airborne Day has been annually commemorated to remember and honor those military parachuting pioneers and the military parachuting units past and present. After being authorized in June 1940, the Army Parachute Test Platoon began training 48 volunteers in July 1940. On August 16, 1940, the test platoon of volunteers made its first official Army parachute jump. With that beginning sprang the formation of a formidable force of military airborne units that have been instrumental in every major engagement from World War II forward.

The U.S. Parachute Association takes this opportunity to say “thank you for your service” to every airborne soldier past and present, and we urge every skydiver to pause this Saturday and reflect on those who have used parachutes to defend the United States.