I don always remember so well, but I heard during the late 70′s that he didn’t do so good. I was 11-14 at that time I remember the conversation taking place in the kitchen of our Garmish Place house between some USAFA Kaydets that were talking about SERE training and how it changed after the Powers incident. Mebee I misunderstood the subtle meaning of statements such as “a real embarrassment”, attributing it to the individual instead of policies.
Glad to know I’ve had it worng for some time and glad you posted it.
Interesting note on the U2 is that they are still flying–and expected to continue until 2023. SR-71′s are all out of service. I don’t know why the drones haven’t retired them–but it’s apparently based on operating cost.
I’d like to hear your story, JFH.
Logdog, I wonder if your impression was based on hate-America propagandists (“journalists”)…
As I recall, the U-2 incident hurt Nixon’s chances in the 1960 Presidential election. It also caused the collapse of the “Four Powers” Paris Summit later that year because President Eisenhower refused to apologize to Premier Nikita Khruschev for the U-2 overflight over the USSR. Recent revelations from Russia also showed that the USSR’s downing of Captain Powers’ U-2 was largely due to luck. Of the initial three SA-2′s launched at Powers’ plane, only one ignited. That one missile exploded behind the U-2, tearing off its wings. Uncertain of the success of the initial missile salvo, the Soviets launched an additional thirteen missiles which succeeded in downing a MiG-19, killing its pilot. The pilot, Senior Lieutenant Sergei Safronov, was posthumously awarded the “Order of the Red Banner”.
Comment by Thunderbottom — June 14, 2012 @ 7:12 am
If he had been flying now, Obama would have crowed about it while he was still in Soviet airspace.
[Send me the text/links/photo for your article, and I'll see if we can post it. Normally, I wouldn't offer; but it might coincide with a particular interest of mine.]
Anderson, yeah. After he was shot down, I don’t recall his name being mentioned — perhaps a security issue at the time. Dunno, could be wrong.
There were other, more conventional, aircraft used to do shallow Soviet penetrations before the U-2; but I don’t know the details. Anybody have a good link for those missions?
Yeah, your story prompted my update. All Powers ever did was admit the undeniable. He never gave away a keepable secret. The main criticism, from what I remember at the time, was that he didn’t take his cyanide pill; hence, my “chest-thumping” update.
ColJ can speak to the resulting capture doctrine and training aspects better than I.
Yeah, the Wikipedia link above has some good details.
Comment by DougM (jackassophobe) — June 14, 2012 @ 8:21 am
It took *Uncle Joe” Stalin a mere 6 weeks after VE Day in Europe to betray every fucking agreement he signed with the Allies. Two years later I entered the 1st grade. It wasn`t long after that atomic bombs started being tested by both sides and continued by the fucking dozens thru out my time in grade school. I graduated high school the year Powers was shot down. I was a recruit at Parris Island when the Cuban missile crisis happened.
My point? During that period, mankind came within an RCH of extinction!
Comment by Colonel Jerry USMC — June 14, 2012 @ 8:42 am
Powers took a huge risk just flying that thing, nevermind cruising over Soviet airspace. From what I’ve read about U2′s, the guys who fly them should get an automatic DFC upon mission completion.
I think I read that at altitude, a U2 is only about 10 knots airspeed difference between stall and mach buffet, and there is no autothrottle. Turning should be very interesting too, and landing is so touchy, they have another pilot in a chase car to advise the pilot through touchdown and rollout.
I never understood why Powers was condemned for not killing himself. We’re Americans, not Japanese, and suicide is not heroic in our culture.
Good news. Shame it didn’t happen before his death.
Comment by dick, not quite dead white guy — June 14, 2012 @ 11:19 am
The Islamists. Don’t forget the Islamists.
(paraphrasing Gen Patton’s aide, LtCol Codman)
Comment by DougM (jackassophobe) — June 14, 2012 @ 2:07 pm