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                                             Today@VOA
                                             No.755   
"On August 19, 1960, U.S. Air Force pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the USSR for spying. "
         "Soviets charge U-2 pilot with espionage, July 8, 1960-POLITICO"
                                    "1960 U-2 incident-Wikipedia "      
                       (The 77-16-line-photo-attached/665.6KB/41.56KB/Line)

On This Day in American History
On August 19, 1960, U.S. Air Force pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the USSR for spying. On May 10, 1960, Powers was flying a U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union when he was shot down over the Ural Mountains. On May 5, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced the capture and said Powers had confessed to spying. Eighteen months after his official sentencing, Powers was exchanged for a Russian spy, Rudolf Abel, on the Glienicker Bridge, which connected East and West Berlin. When Powers returned to the U.S., he was cleared of any culpability. In 1977, he died in a helicopter crash while working as pilot for a Los Angeles television news station.

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         "Soviets charge U-2 pilot with espionage, July 8, 1960-POLITICO"
                    
By ANDREW GLASS
On this day in 1960, an emerging Cold War détente between the United States and the Soviet Union suffered a setback when the Soviets charged Francis Gary Powers, a U.S. Air Force and CIA U-2 pilot, with espionage. The affair set into motion years of mistrust between the White House and the Kremlin.

Powers had been shot down over Sverdlovsk on May 1, 1960. He would be found guilty on Aug. 17 and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment followed by seven years of hard labor. He served one year, nine months and nine days before being traded for a Soviet spy, Rudolph Abel.

Washington initially responded to his capture with a cover story, claiming that a “weather plane” had crashed after its pilot had “difficulties with his oxygen equipment.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower did not know that the plane had landed nearly intact. The Soviets recovered its photographic equipment, as well as Powers, whom they interrogated before he made a “voluntary confession” and issued an apology.

A summit meeting involving the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France was to have begun later that month in Paris. But Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stormed out of the meeting, accusing the Americans of being “unable to call a halt to their [cold] war effort.”

After being debriefed by the CIA and the Air Force, Powers appeared before a Senate Armed Services Select Committee in 1962, chaired by Sen. Richard Russell (D-Ga.), as well as GOP Sens. Prescott Bush of Connecticut and Barry Goldwater of Arizona. The panel found that Powers had followed orders, that he had not divulged any critical information to the Soviets and had conducted himself “as a fine young man under dangerous circumstances.”

Powers died in 1977 at age 47 when his Bell 206 JetRanger helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed at the Sepulveda Dam recreational area in Encino, California, several miles short of its intended landing site at Burbank Airport. He was working as a traffic reporter for a Los Angeles TV station at the time. Powers is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1998, newly declassified information revealed that Powers’ mission had been a joint Air Force-CIA operation. In 2000, on the 40th anniversary of the U-2 Incident, his family received with his posthumously awarded Prisoner of War Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross and National Defense Service Medal. In addition, CIA Director George Tenet authorized that Powers be awarded posthumously the CIA’s Director’s Medal for extreme fidelity and extraordinary courage in the line of duty.

On June 15, 2012, Powers was posthumously awarded the Silver Star medal for “demonstrating ‘exceptional loyalty’ while enduring harsh interrogation in Moscow’s Lubyanka Prison for nearly two years.” Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff presented the decoration to Powers’ grandchildren, Trey Powers, 9, and Lindsey Berry, 29, in a Pentagon ceremony.

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