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Gary Powers

Francis Gary Powers (August 17, 1929 - August 1, 1977) was an American military pilot.

He joined the USAF in 1951. After completing his training he was assigned to the 468th Strategic Fighter Squadron at Turner Air Force Base, Georgia. He left the Air Force in 1956 to join the CIA U-2 program.

Flying the U-2 spyplane from Adana, Turkey to Bodø, Norway he was shot down by a SAM on May 1, 1960, crashing near Sverdlovsk[?]. (See also Tyuratam.)

The Paris Summit between Dwight Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev collapsed, in large part because Khrushchev demanded an apology over the incident. Khrushchev had announced the shooting down on May 5 and American attempts to claim it was an off-course meterological flight were embarrassingly destroyed when the Russians revealed they had captured the pilot. Khrushchev left the talks on May 16.

Powers was convicted of espionage on August 19 and sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment and 7 years of hard labor. But he only served one and three-quarter years before being exchanged for Colonel Rudolph Ivanovich Abel[?] on February 10, 1962. The exchange occurred on the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin.

On his return to the US Powers worked for Lockheed as a test pilot for seven years. He died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on August 1, 1977.

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