On 15 June 2012 the Department of the United States Air Force posthumously awarded the military’s third-highest decoration, the Silver Star to FRANCIS G. POWERS. This has been long overdue and to be sure all those connected to the U-2 program are forever grateful for the sacrifices made by Mr. Powers and the perseverance shown by his family.
NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF
THE SILVER STAR
FRANCIS G. POWERS
Captain Francis G. Powers distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States from 1 May 1960 to 10 February 1962. During this period, while assigned to the Joint United States Air Force, Central Intelligence Agency, U-2 Reconnaissance Squadron, Detachment 10-10, Captain Powers was held captive in solitary confinement in the infamous Lubyanka Prison, Moscow, in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, after his U-2 aircraft had been shot down by a Soviet surface to air missile over enemy territory. For almost 107 days, Captain Powers was interrogated, harassed, and endured unmentionable hardships on a continuous basis by numerous top Soviet Secret Police interrogating teams. Although greatly weakened physically by the lack of food, denial of sleep and the mental rigors of constant interrogation, Captain Powers steadfastly refused all attempts to give sensitive defense information or be exploited for propaganda purposes, resisting all Soviet efforts through cajolery, trickery, and threats of death to obtain the confessions they sought as part of the pretrial investigation. Captain Powers was subjected to an international trial and was sentenced to an additional 542 days of captivity in Vladimir Prison before finally being released to United States control. As a result of his indomitable spirit, exceptional loyalty, and continuous heroic actions, Russian intelligence gained no vital information from him. For his sustained courage in an exceptionally hostile environment, Captain Powers was
publicly recognized by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate Armed Services Committee.
By his gallantry and devotion to duty in the dedication of his service to his country, Captain Powers has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.