Back to First Shot Front Cover!   
CMP Home Page TFS Articles Archives CMP Competitions Home Page CMP Forum CMP Sales  OCT-06

Click here to sign up to receive CMP Email Updates

Click here to go to the CMP Forum to read & post questions.

We want your feedback! Please let us know what you think about TFS. Do you have an interesting story or article that you would like to share? If so, please let us know!

Reader Comments:

Thanksfor the great stories and tips. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. This is great for keeping the CMP active.
Tim H., AZ
I just read the article on slings. Very good! Please include other "how to" items in the future.
David S.
Moxee, WA
The story of the M1 rifle that was presented to Shifty of the 101 airborne makes me proud to be part of the shooting community. Thank you for adding it to the TFS.
Mike S.
What a great article: “A Rifle for Shifty” … that has to be one of the best stories I’ve read in quite some time. Thanks for publishing it.
Alex N.
Thank You again Christine, very good articles.
Ms. Elder, just a note to say that there are few things I look forward to receiving by email, and the Shooting News publication is one of them!
It is always a high quality publication with a nice mix of text and image, about interesting things and folks.
Keep up the good work!
Phil B., Ph.D. Annapolis, MD
That was a great story! Thanks for publishing it.
Regards from Dakota,
Jim S.
PS: I forwarded it to all my shooter friends.
This story about the "Gift for Shifty" is one of the best stories I have read so far....An example of selfless appreciation for the WW2 vets that helped make this such a wonderful country...God bless our past and present troops.
Ron W.
The story "A Rifle For Shifty" really hit me. What a wonderful tribute to one of this countries nearly forgotten heroes.
Kudos to all who were involved with finding and presenting him with "his" rifle. Thanks to those of you who shared the story.
John S.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Rifle for Shifty. We owe our WW2 veterans a debt we can never repay. I wish I could provide all of them with a similar token of appreciation.
Jeff C.
Love the newsletter. Looks good and to the point. In the Navy we have a signal that signifies an excellent job. Bravo Zulu to the staff. Keep up the good work from an old retired Command Master Chief USN
I enjoy reading The First Shot... keep up the good work. Ron
Just a note to tell you that I really appreciate the CMP Shooter's News. Thanks for all your efforts in putting it out to everyone.
Best regards,
Dan S.
After thirty three years in Law Enforcement most of that in firearms and tactical training. I have retired and have the opportunity to enjoy some of the publications, that in the past I was too busy to do. Your "First Shot" magazine that I receive each month is excellent. I can see what the youth programs are doing and follow the National Matches with ease. Thank you so much for this publication, keep up the good work.
P.C. Pickett Sr.

Printable Version

A Rifle for Shifty

By Jim Radel

Pictured left to right, Dennis Chapin, Daryl “Shifty” Powers, Jimmy Radel Jr, Jim Radel, John Gilligbauer, and Richard Radel.

It is 11 March 2006, 11:35pm somewhere on Interstate 81 just south of the Pennsylvania border. It is raining and everyone in the vehicle is asleep, except for me of course. I have been up for the past 40 hours, with the exception of a one-hour nap at the gas station waiting for the Burger King next door to open, yet I am feeling pretty good and a sense of accomplishment has settled over me. Even the fact that I need to be back at work in less than 14 hours does not bother me. What would make a group of grown men and a small boy get in a van and drive 11 ½ hours each way without a break? It is the once in a life time chance to spend a few moments with an elderly man who also happens to be an American hero.

Let me explain, my name is Jim Radel and I am a WWII re-enactor. I participate in several big re-enactment events on the east coast, and go to local middle and elementary schools to give hands on living history programs about the life and equipment of the WWII soldier. I am also an avid service rifle shooter and competitor, which led me to combine my favorite hobbies and enter the John C Garand and Springfield Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio sporting my WWII military gear.

James Radel dressed in 101st Airborne Easy Company 506th Paratrooper Uniform. He personally received his WWII jumpwings from Major Dick Winters of Easy Company.

Since 2002, I have attended the Matches portraying a WWII paratrooper. After the 2002 Matches, I returned home and as soon as put my gear away I got a call from a friend who was an actual WWII paratrooper with the 101st airborne 506th E Company. The guys of the famed E Company were brought to the public’s attention recently by the mini-series Band of Brothers, written by Stephen Ambrose. The re-enacting group I belong to had worked with the 506th before, so I knew several of these heroes. My friend called to ask my re-enactment group to provide our biggest honor yet, a memorial jump in the Currahee Veterans Memorial Jump at Chambersburg, PA. We were also invited to the E Company’s 58th reunion and a flag presentation for Maj Richard Winters. At the reunion we provided an honor guard dressed in WWII uniforms complete with weapons and equipment. While attending the event, we got to talk to all the attending vets quite freely. Being a shooter as well as a re-enactor most of my conversations turned to weapons and different tactics. While at the reception we were dressed in full combat gear. Along with my gear, I had my CMP rifle with me and was doing my usual impression. That was when a soft-spoken gentleman approached and asked if he could see my rifle. When I turned around much to my surprise there stood Daryl “Shifty” Powers. Shifty was considered by the men of 506th to be the best shot with an M1 rifle in the entire E Company. I handed the rifle over to him, and watched this surprisingly quiet man from Virginia. If you didn’t know his past you would never guess this man jumped from airplanes to strike fear into the enemy in WWII. As Shifty handled my M1 he related some stories about his personal M1 rifle from the war. He remarked at how nice his rifle was and at the condition it was in. What he said next completely caught me off guard; he asked if he could buy my rifle! I told him as politely as I could that this rifle was not for sale. Though he asked again and stated that he had wanted one ever since he turned his in at the end of the war. I asked him if he could remember the serial number of his rifle, I thought he might since soldiers were required to memorize the serial number of their weapon and failure to do so often resulted in push-ups. He never batted an eye and gave me the last three digits. He then told me he had only bothered to memorize the last three digits because the chances of someone else having the same last digits were really slim. As soon as he told me the number I had an idea.

CMP M1 Garand Rifle in a custom stock provided by Boyd’s Stocks. This rifle was presented to WWII veteran Daryl “Shifty” Powers, who was a member of the famed 101st airborne 506th E Company. The rifle has the same last three digits in the serial number as the one Powers carried in the service.

I told Shifty I thought I knew where I could locate a rifle as nice as mine for a reasonable price, so he agreed to let me find him one and not purchase anything until I contacted him. When I returned home I approached my local CMP club and laid out my plan. I wanted to present a CMP rifle to Shifty Powers as a gift from the Northumberland Point Township Sportsman’s Association. That’s when Denny Chapin, our club president, contacted CMP Chief Operating Officer, Orest Michaels, at CMP South and told him Shifty’s story. We hoped to find a rifle with the same last three digits as Shifty’s wartime rifle, and asked for CMP’s help. Orest thought for a moment and then asked how soon we needed the rifle. We told him we could wait for the right serial number, and that’s when he agreed to help us. I then contacted Boyd’s Stocks to see if they could supply a walnut stock set for this project. The people at Boyd’s were great! They thought that this was a very worthwhile project and were happy to be a part of it. I let them know what I had in mind for the stock and they set to work. Three weeks later a package arrived at my home with a beautiful carved and finished M-1 stock set. It had the 101st airborne patch, tab paratroop wings and 506th Currahee crest. It was just gorgeous, but I still did not have a rifle to put in it.

Months passed then Denny got a call from CMP, “we have your rifle.” He called me and we got the funds shipped out right away. The rifle arrived and I set to work cleaning and installing the new wood.

Shifty had only one requirement for his rifle, it MUST shoot as well as his old one did. A close inspection of the rifle revealed it was an original barrel receiver combination with a 42 dated barrel. After checking and gauging the bore and muzzle, I took the rifle out to the range. I started with 5 clips of M-2 ball and set out to zero the rifle. After 5 shots I had it in the black on an SR1 target, so the second clip was for group. It held the nine and ten rings at 100 yards so I felt it would be just right. Now it was time to call Shifty and tell him I found a rifle for him.

I called Shifty and asked him if he remembered the conversation we had at the reunion. He did, and he asked if I had found him a rifle. I let him know we did, though I did not tell him about the serial number because that was to be the big surprise. He asked if it shot ok, and I assured him that he would be pleased with it. Then he wanted to know how much it cost and I told him it would be a gift for the sacrifice he made for his country. Shifty did not want to accept something so valuable, though I told him he had little choice since the deal was done. I wanted to find a good time to present it to him and in talking with him on the phone I found out his birthday was in mid March; I knew that would make an unforgettable birthday present. I discussed it with Denny and we set the date.

Shifty Powers (center) firing his newly refinished M1 Garand at his home in Virginia with Jim Radel (left) and Dennis Chapin (right). Powers was considered the best shot in his unit during WWII.

The Friday before Shifty’s birthday I set out with my dad, Richard Radel, my son, James Radel Jr., Dennis Chapin, the club president, and my friend, John Gilligbauer, an NRA Instructor. We left right after work for the 11 ½ hour drive to Shifty's home in the mountains of Virginia. Shifty greeted us with a warm smile when we arrived at his house around 8:30 a.m. We handed Shifty the plain brown box that CMP ships all its rifles in, the simple box did not to give a clue about the gem that was held inside. As he opened the box and pulled out the beautifully re-finished rifle Shifty gave a small gasp. “This was too much, I can’t believe how nice it looks!” he said. He looked at the stock; saw the carved jump wings, 101st screaming eagle and Currahee crest. He ran his fingers over the carvings and along the full length of the stock. I asked him to look at the serial number. Shifty just stared for a moment and then he started to shake his head. He simply could not believe we were able to track down his old serial number. Was it Shifty’s wartime rifle? We do not really know, but I would like to think that in the big scheme of things this was just one of those small things that worked out for the best.

After the presentation, we took Shifty’s rifle outside and with some ammo we just happened to have in our van, we put some rounds downrange. I had the opportunity to shoot with one of the best rifleman of WWII, and as an added bonus Shifty spent time that day helping my young son with his shooting. It was a moment I will always treasure. After a much too short visit we had to leave and begin our long journey home. As we gathered our things to leave, Shifty was still shocked that a bunch of Yankees from Pennsylvania would go so far out of their way for a southerner like him. But for us, Shifty Powers is so much more. We said our goodbyes and started the long trek home, which brings me back to the beginning of my story. It’s dark, raining and I’m exhausted though right now I feel great!

Back to the Top

CMP Competitions/Programs: Camp Perry Training Site Building 3, PO Box 576, Port Clinton, OH 43452
Telephone: (419) 635-2141 Fax: (419) 635-2573
Competitions Email:   Programs Email:
CMP Sales: 1401 Commerce Blvd., Anniston, AL 36207
Telephone: (256) 835-8455 Fax: (256) 835-3527
Spam and Virus Filtering Provided byISP Services