Whitesburg in Letcher County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
Pilot -- Spy -- Hero / Francis Gary Powers
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.
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.
Erected 1983 by Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Transportation. (Marker Number 1732.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic Air & Space • War, Cold. In addition, it is included in the Kentucky Historical Society series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 1, 1960.
Location. 37° 7.095′ N, 82° 49.614′ W. Marker is in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in Letcher County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Webb Street, on the right when traveling east on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 156 Main St, Whitesburg KY 41858, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Letcher County Honor Roll (here, next to this marker); Early Settler (approx. 1.9 miles away); Scotia Mine Disaster (approx. 4.9 miles away); Pioneer Ancestor (approx. 6.8 miles away); Jenkins (approx. 10.6 miles away); Pound Gap (approx. 10.8 miles away); Pound Gap Massacre (approx. 11 miles away); Brothers Once More (approx. 11 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Whitesburg.
Also see . . .
1. Francis Gary Powers - Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on August 23, 2016.)
2. 1960 U-2 Incident - Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on August 23, 2016.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 4, 2019. It was originally submitted on August 23, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 574 times since then and 117 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 23, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.