Too little, too late, even though the honor is well deserved. Any idea what the impetus for this was?
I remember seeing some of the wreckage of his plane in the Armed Forces Museum in Moscow where it is proudly displayed.
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.
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?
I believe this is referencing the RB-47H shot down in 1960, and survived by CPTs Olmstead and McKone.
I read about this when I was a kid. Funny how most folks don't remember how many airman we lost to "unfriendly fire" back during the Cold War.