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"Shifty" By Chuck Yeager

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in 
WWII and served with Easy 

 of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st 

Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers 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 5 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.” At that point he 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 


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 and 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.” His eyes were filling up as he said it.

And mine are brimming up now as I write this. 

Shifty died on Jan. l7 after fighting cancer. 

There was no parade. 

No big event in  
Staples Center . 

No wall-to-wall, back-to-back 24x7 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. 

Chuck Yeager, Maj. General [ret.] 

P.S. I think that it is amazing how the 
media” chooses our “heroes” these days…

Elvis, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston
 & the like.

165 notes

  1. you-cant-deny-this-is-you-99 reblogged this from stepasidebutch
  2. kartographerklass reblogged this from stepasidebutch and added:
    True hero ❤❤
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  16. super-sonic-the-hedgehog reblogged this from stepasidebutch and added:
    If you don’t take the time to read this, shame on you.
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  23. imabigfanofnotbeingonfire reblogged this from lampgeest and added:
    “Shifty” By Chuck Yeager Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute...
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