|About the Book|
Francis Gary Powers, discharged from the USAF in 56 as a captain, joined CIAs U-2 program. U-2s flew at over 70,000, invulnerable to Soviet anti-aircraft weapons, taking high-resolution photos from the stratosphere of military & other sites.MoreFrancis Gary Powers, discharged from the USAF in 56 as a captain, joined CIAs U-2 program. U-2s flew at over 70,000, invulnerable to Soviet anti-aircraft weapons, taking high-resolution photos from the stratosphere of military & other sites. Soviet intelligence had been aware of them since 56, but lacked counter-measures til 60. Powers’ U-2, which departed from a military airbase in Peshawar, Pakistan & may have received support from the US Air Station at Badaber, was shot down over Sverdlovsk by an S-75 Dvina Surface to Air missile on 5/1/60. He was unable to activate a self-destruct mechanism & unwilling to commit suicide before parachuting. Eight S-75 missiles had been launched. The 1st had hit. One hit a MiG-19 intercepter unable to attain sufficient altitude. Pilot Sergey Safronov crashed in a forest rather than bail out & risk crashing into Degtyarsk. A unarmed Su-9 in transit was directed to ram. It failed because of speed differences. When the US government learned of the disappearance, it issued a cover statement claiming a weather pilot had crashed after oxygen difficulties. What CIA didnt realize was that the plane crashed almost intact. Powers was interrogated by the KGB for months before confessing & apologizing. The incident set back talks between Khrushchev & Eisenhower. On 8/17/60, he was convicted of espionage & sentenced to 3 years imprisonment & 7 years hard labor. He was held east of Moscow in Vladimirsky Central Prison--now containing a small museum with an exhibit on him--& allegedly got on with prisoners there. On 2/10/62, he was exchanged along with American student Frederic Pryor in a publicised spy swap for Soviet KGB Colonel Vilyam Fisher (aka Rudolf Abel), a Soviet colonel who was caught by the FBI & jailed for espionage, at Berlins Glienicke Bridge.