Skip to comments.Cold War pilot Francis Gary Powers to get Silver Star
Posted on 06/09/2012 11:02:47 AM PDT by moonshot925
(CNN) -- An American pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union will be posthumously awarded the Silver Star next week, 50 years after he was released from prison and returned to the United States.
The award for valor is being bestowed on Francis Gary Powers for exhibiting "exceptional loyalty" during harsh interrogation while in captivity by the Soviet Union for nearly two years, the Air Force said.
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration awarded to members of any U.S. military branch for valor in the face of the enemy, the Air Force said. The award will be presented to his family Friday during a ceremony at the Pentagon, officials said.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
Powers did the right thing by not killing himself. Perhaps only orthodox Christians understand this and that’s why you can’t.
Don’t attack me personally, you don’t have to get nasty and unchristian, I haven’t offered an opinion on whether Powers should have killed himself or not, I never have.
Why don’t you tell me what you are trying to attack me for so that I can respond?
At the risk of what some of these self-regarding leaders might consider lese majeste, I'll say that I'm pretty skeptical of these kinds of orders, which should really only apply to people above a certain pay grade, who have extremely sensitive information and whose capture might lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives. I have in mind people like Ike himself.
My ulterior motive meter just blipped.
I get what you are trying to say.
There was no expectation to take the pill (take your own life).
None, regardless of religious affiliation.
About the 80’s. . .post-Vietnam the code of conduct was revised to allow you to resist to the best of your ability. . .that is all. Too many guys suffered horribly during Vietnam as they resisted to the point of death or crippling. The US changed the code so that honorable men would not be placed in that situation, to allow them to walk the resistance path but yet, not die and if broken, not be considered a failure. You were trained to resist until you could resist no more.
No one was expected to die.
Why should he have killed himself?
Communism collapsed under its own failures.
Even in the 1980s there were units that felt that some missions might call for it, for instance certain deep penetration LRS operations during the Cold War could call for it if the mission was important enough, such as a last ditch eyes on mission to determine if NATO needed to go nuclear.
It was a constant subject of discussion of what to do with a team member if he couldn’t be left behind alive and the mission had to be completed regardless of the cost.
Another constant subject of the two that dominated discussions in units like that, is what do you do if a cute little East German child stumbles across your team and the mission is just beginning, and must be completed (which is normally the case if you are already 300 miles inside the Soviet Union knowing that the GRU and KGB has hunter/killer teams that look for people like you and Army command or even the President is waiting for your information).
Exposure kills the mission and the team, a team member being taken alive kills the mission and the team because he will be turned over to professionals who need the information he has to immediately kill the team and their mission, it probably wouldn’t be a long term imprisonment that he is facing, but a concentrated effort of interrogation focused on information of immediate need and urgency, it is doubtful that POW rules would apply in such a case.
You aren’t supposed to slit the throats of men who you capture alive, but some missions still call for such things.
“You arent supposed to slit the throats of men who you capture alive, but some missions still call for such things.”
Actually, according to LOAC and our western moral code, that is not allowed and therefore not called for.
Bravo 20, the British Special Forces unit in Iraq in 1991, was compromised (discovered) by a child and was faced with such a situation. They chose the moral and right thing to do and did not murder the child that discovered them.
Murder is not killing in war. Soldiers kill all the time—it is what they are supposed to do. Murder is the unlawful taking of a life—and slitting the throat of a captured enemy is such an act.
There are complex and difficult situations that muddy the waters terribly and this means each situation must be taken on its own merits and weighed in accordance with Just War. Things such as double-effect, proportionality and strategic devastation all wander into this challenging area.
If you slit the throat (murder) the prisoner you are committing murder. That is undisputed.
What separates us from the murdering pig-scat dwelling muslimes from our Christian and moral way of war is the fact we do not murder and we do not deliberately inflict suffering upon the innocent (balanced by the aforementioned caveats listed above).
Muslimes make the suffering of the innocent the primary aim of their evil.
We are not them.
We learned a hellovalot by his being traded back to us. Anyone claiming he should have offed himself knows nothing of intelligence or spying.
Then why was he given the capsule?
He failed to protect his country. Back in the day he was considered a joke and a coward after this. That’s why he had a job flying a news chopper.
Not a mortal sin to destroy his equipment to protect his country.
Bravo Two Zero was in Desert Storm, we don’t know what their failed mission cost us, but it was incredibly bloody McNabb claims hundreds died and he lost three men but that is neither here nor there.
In Europe with a team hundreds of miles into the Soviet Union and WWII chaos behind them there would not be the options that the US Army Special forces LRRP team had in Desert Storm when they canceled their mission and fought their way out with air support with no losses.
When a silent, invisible team is moving alone, truly alone, hundreds of miles behind enemy lines carrying 160 pounds of irreplaceable gear on their back, hoping that they can complete the all important intelligence mission and that they will be able to be picked up in a week or ten days, what do you want them to do when they bump into a couple of soldiers, surrender, take them prisoner?
LRS missions are some of the most valuable, complicated, silent, and invisible missions in existence and they end once sighted, in some situations like the European theater in a WWIII that meant certain death for the entire LRS team of which few people exist in and who take a very long time to replace, and the total failure of the Army level intelligence gathering mission, does each one end at the first appearance of a civilian or a wounded or captured soldier? Everybody just throws up their hands and discards the all important mission, and calmly dies either in gunfire in a futile effort to fight or under torture?
Yet he was given a suicide pill and instructions.
By the way these are 4 to six man teams I am talking about, not the mass of Merrill’s Marauders.
How do you think the Merrill’s Marauders dealt with prisoners?
Read up-thread for my earlier post quoting the National Security Council discussion about what the national leadership expected of him.
They did not expect him to kill himself.
Other, less informed at the time called him coward but they were not credible.
Christians and suicide. Mortal sin. Greater courage to face the pain than kill yourself.
Too many people watch too many movies .
Real world is not Hollyweird.
I think it was foolish for President Eisenhower to authorize operation GRAND SLAM of 1 May 1960.
He already knew that the “missile gap” was false.
On 9 April 1960, operation SQUARE DEAL, a U-2 piloted by Bob Ericson penetrated Soviet airspace and took several photographs of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. From these photographs, the CIA found out that the Soviets only had 2 SS-6 Sapwood ICBMs deployed.
Was the suicide poison issued people on some missions to just to make it “Hollywood”?
Many don’t know that some American GIs even bought small pistols for their wives to kill the children and themselves rather than be taken alive during the Indian wars, a time of much Christianity and when many hard, toughened soldiers did not want to be taken alive.
They are not always used to prevent capture.