Skip to comments.Southwest Virginia spy pilot will posthumously receive Silver Star 50 years after being shot down
Posted on 06/07/2012 5:16:25 AM PDT by Perdogg
Famed Southwest Virginia spy-plane pilot Francis Gary Powers will posthumously receive the Silver Star next week in honor of his captivity in the Soviet Union more than 50 years ago.
(Excerpt) Read more at 2.tricities.com ...
Too little, too late, even though the honor is well deserved. Any idea what the impetus for this was?
It is obvious that you didn’t read the article.
I remember seeing some of the wreckage of his plane in the Armed Forces Museum in Moscow where it is proudly displayed.
There are still a lot of questions about that—whether the wreckage displayed really was the U-2 or not; why the CIA continued the flights even after Eisenhower had expressly ordered they be halted, to avoid just the kind of mishap which occurred, prior to his planned first trip to the USSR;
whether the entire incident wasn’t a set-up; etc.
Just this past Monday I met a former AF gentleman who said he had met and spoken with Powers in Turkey. Their conversation had started over a beer and the differences in their (high) security badges.
I was down at Memorial Park in Cranford, New Jersey a few years ago, and there is a memorial marker there for Lt. Charles A Harker, USAF and Cranford Class of ‘48. The marker said that Lt. Harker had been shot down in an F-86 over Korea, captured, and taken to the Soviet Union, where he was held prisoner for the rest of his life.
Powers made it home, but many did not.
It’s about time! My dad’s brother went to high school for a time with “Frank” Powers, and always thought highly of him.
The CIA and U.S. government treated him like crap after he returned from Russia. And his last act in this life was simple heroic, when he steered his crashing helicopter in Los Angeles away from a park full of kids, knowing that it would probably kill him.
I still think it was no coincidence that Powers was shot down just months after a radar operator for a major U-2 base, Lee Harvey Oswald, defected to the Soviet Union.
you have it right— read “Programed to Kill” Ion Pacepa
According to Wikipedia, he was born in Jenkins, KY, and grew up in Pound in Wise County, VA (about 6 miles away). He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery—his grave marker can be seen on “Find A Grave” if you type in his name. The marker says CAPT US AIR FORCE KOREA. His wife died in 2004.
Gary Francis Powers ping
Does anyone know the exact circumstances of the shootdown? I had read that the U-2 experienced some type of mechanical problem requiring Powers to descend to a lower altitude. It was the descent that allowed the Soviets to shoot him down. Does anyone know if that is true?
That is correct, and why I was asking perdogg for a summary.
Thanks for the ping. Just getting shot down doesn’t qualify for a Silver Star, but perhaps courage in captivity does.
I was in basic training at Lackland when this incident went down. We had been there for about four weeks and still had no clue what was happening. Then all the officers and NCOs were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They were convinced that we (minus the recruits) would all be shipping out for points unknown that very evening.