CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers, shot down over the Urals piloted May 1, 1960 a U.S. spy plane U-2, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star — the third-largest U.S. military decoration.
Powers was awarded the Silver Star for heroism while in Soviet captivity. "Despite the humiliation and torture to which the pilot was subjected to punitive brigades, he did not give any shred of classified information ", — Said in a statement the press service of the U.S. Air Force. The award was presented to her grandson and granddaughter Powers U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz at a ceremony at the Pentagon.
Having joined the CIA in 1956 Powers carried out reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union at the spy plane Lockheed U-2. He served on the US-Turkish air base and made regular flights along the Soviet borders with Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.
May 1, 1960 Powers had to make a cross-country flight Aral Sea — Sverdlovsk — Kirov — Arkhangelsk — Murmansk and land at an air base in Norway. The date was not chosen at random, then noted experts: May Day in all the country's leadership was in the parade, many military commanders had a day off, so that the decision-making process of the destruction of the aircraft could be delayed.
Early in the morning Moscow time Powers' U-2 crossed the border near the Tajik Soviet Kirovabad at an altitude of 20 kilometers. Three hours later, he was hit by a missile from the S-75 near Sverdlovsk. In the Soviet press reported that the plane was shot down by the first missile. In fact, the target was released a few shells. In the air were raised two MiG-19, one of which was mistakenly shot down, killing its pilot. Also, the order to destroy the U-2 entered the Su-9: pilot in the absence of ammunition had to go to the ram — that the pilot did not up to the task.
U-2 was shot down by a missile at maximum range, proximity undermining warhead occurred behind the aircraft that saved the lives of American pilots. He ejected and was arrested upon landing Kosulino residents of the village of Sverdlovsk region.
"The guy thirties, young and graying hair at the temples"
"Parachutist landed not very successfully — fell on his back. We rushed to him. The idea was simple — help — led eyewitness accounts Clara Skopina the pages of "Soviet Russia." — We helped off the gloves, hard hat, helmet. When freed him from all the excess, look — we are pretty healthy this guy thirty, young and graying hair at the temples. Steel put out a parachute and see — not Russian letters on it. "
"Parachutist behaved calmly and confidently. It was felt by all that he had good training. He never uttered a single word, but motioned: drink! We stopped at the very first house and the hostess made a glass of water … And here is arrived, the captain and lieutenant of the parts. Ask the flyer in German. He shakes his head, does not understand … all pilot pretended not to understand a word in Russian, but when the state farm director Mikhail N. Berman said, "3des do not smoke," — he immediately pushed his ashtray "- eyewitness of those events.
When information about the destruction of the American plane spread around the world, the U.S. claimed that the plane was hit by a researcher, carrying out meteorological research. In response to the Soviet leadership presented the wreckage of special equipment and the testimony of the pilot.
"Powers was a middle-American laborer. It was a very learned man, but technically well heeled, who is used to the wheel, height, speed … He was an honest man by nature, but restrained in his statements. Our bodies are treated him very well. He had a private room in the inner prison in the Lubyanka. With soft furnishings. Fed with the general's dining room ", — Recalled Georgi Mihaylov, Colonel-General in retirement.
According to him, there is no physical impact on the Powers, contrary to the statements made by the U.S. side, did not turn out, "Just ask him — he replied. Frankly enough … What were we from Powers? We understand that the matter of the CIA and the equipment to which it napichkivalo it. And for her, he knew a little … And the process he behaved very correctly: admitted his guilt and expressed regret that he had taken part in such a mission. "
Spy made the hero only after 40 years
The trial took place in a spy for the Hall of Columns at the huge crowds. Made by farmers who found Powers on the field, experts of all kinds of equipment, specialists. The Attorney General has taken into account all mitigating circumstances: the origin of the work, a minor role in the incident (the main culprit — the CIA), and requested a 15 year sentence. In the end, Powers gave only 10 years: three years in prison and seven years of imprisonment.
Served spy only eighteen months — February 10, 1962 in Berlin at the "spy" Glienicke bridge Powers was exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.
Upon returning to the United States Powers accused of dereliction of duty pilot on the Elimination of classified equipment and film footage, as well as the fact that he had committed suicide — when they searched shortly after his arrest in Paurse found a needle with poison.
Be that as it may, Powers worked on the pilot, however, data on cooperation with the secret police did not survive. He was a test pilot in the company Lockheed, from which he was forced to resign, reportedly because of a negative assessment of the CIA, which Powers introduced in his book about the events of May 1, 1960.
Then Powers became radio commentator, and after — a helicopter pilot. August 1, 1977 Powers died in a helicopter crash while covering wildfires in Santa Barbara.
In 2000, the fortieth anniversary of the mission Powers and his family were awarded posthumously awarded the pilot award — Prisoner of War Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross of Merit Medal and National Defense.