WASHINGTON — The Air Force says it will award a Silver Star posthumously to Francis Gary Powers, the pilot whose spy plane was shot down in 1960 over the Soviet Union in a defining moment of the Cold War.
A November report by the Air Force says that the U-2 pilot distinguished himself with his gallantry during harsh interrogation in Soviet prisons.
Powers was swapped for a Soviet spy in February 1962 in Berlin. He died in a 1977 helicopter crash.
Francis Gary Powers Jr. said the decision is further vindication of his father, who was criticized by some at the time.
Powers Sr. posthumously was awarded a military POW medal and a CIA medal in 2000, after incident records were unsealed. The U-2 overflights were a joint CIA-Air Force program.