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Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
June 20, 2012
112th Congress, 2nd Session
Issue: Vol. 158, No. 94 — Daily Edition
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HONORING CAPTAIN FRANCIS GARY POWERS
(Extensions of Remarks - June 20, 2012)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E1092] HONORING CAPTAIN FRANCIS GARY POWERS ______ HON. H. MORGAN GRIFFITH of virginia in the house of representatives Wednesday, June 20, 2012 Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I submit these remarks in honor of Captain Francis Gary Powers, a loyal, devoted citizen of the United States, who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star last week. A native of Virginia's Ninth Congressional District, Captain Powers grew up in Pound, Virginia. According to the official award citation, from May 1, 1960 to February 10, 1962, Captain Powers served in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States. While assigned to the Joint U.S. Air Force, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U 2 Reconnaissance Squadron, Detachment 10 10, Captain Powers was held captive in solitary confinement in the infamous Lubyanka Prison in Moscow after his U 2 aircraft had been shot down by a Soviet surface to air missile. For almost 107 days, Captain Powers endured interrogations, harassment, and 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. Captain Powers resisted all Soviet efforts through cajolery, trickery, and threats of death to obtain the information they sought. Captain Powers was subjected to a trial and was sentenced to an additional 542 days of captivity in Vladimir Prison before finally being released to the United States in 1962. As a result of his unconquerable 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 CIA 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. It is with great admiration, respect, and appreciation that I stand before you to honor such a courageous American. I know I speak for so many when I say, we're proud of our native son, Captain Francis Gary Powers. ____________________