Nice they’re finally getting around to awarding him the Silver Star, but it’s too bad they didn’t do it while he was still alive.
"Today we honor Francis Gary Powers for the bravery and courage he demonstrated on my behalf..."
Powers's flight took place May 1, a big day in the Evil Empire (parade in Red Square and all that). It turns out, in the holiday confusion, the Rooskies shot down one of their own before they got Powers:
The marshal was debating whether to go home to change his clothes or go straight to Red Square when another call came from Sverdlovsk on the special phone. The general haltingly reported that the second parachutist had been found and that unfortunately he was one of ours, Senior Lieutenant Safronov.
What do you mean, one of ours? The marshal barely kept from shouting. How many planes did you shoot down? Cant you tell the difference between ours and theirs?
His transponder wasnt working, lied the general. That lie was repeated many times later, until Igor Mentyukov cleared up the matter: The transponders were operating, but on the code for April, not May. In the preholiday flurry of activities, service personnel had not yet changed it. So not surprisingly, the radars perceived friendly as foe.
How many missiles did you fire? asked Biryuzov, gradually calming down.
One, three, and then two more. The general in Sverdlovsk began counting. Fourteen in all, he said, sounding depressed.
And which one brought down the plane?
This is why he is leaking nat'l security info (to show what he's doing behind the scenes...approving drone kills, heading up the Iran cyberterror program, etc.) and why we see stories like the possibility of opening up the Philippines again for the US military.
Don't be fooled.
My ulterior motive meter just blipped.
We learned a hellovalot by his being traded back to us. Anyone claiming he should have offed himself knows nothing of intelligence or spying.