Pilot — Spy — Hero
Francis Gary Powers and the "U-2 Incident" catapulted activities of the United States into world view. This Burdine native, with other pilots directed by CIA, flew U-2's (high altitude jet gliders) over Russia, photographing missile and industrial sites and nuclear tests. On May 1, 1960, when his plane was disabled 1300 mi. Over Russia, Powers parachuted to safety.
Francis Gary Powers
1929 - 1977
Taken prisoner, Powers stated his compass had malfunctioned on a weather flight. Finding film intact in plane's wreckage, the Russians told him he would stand trial for espionage. Sentenced to ten years imprisonment, Powers was released in 1962 in exchange for a Soviet spy. Later decorated by CIA. Died in civilian helicopter crash.