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Francis Gary Powers was a pilot born in 1929. He joined the United States Air Force in 1950 as a second lieutenant and was first assigned as to fly the F-84 Thunderjet in the 468th Strategic Fighter Squadron at Turner Air Force Base. he was soon recruited by the CIA due to his skill at flying and chosen to fly the advanced U-2 spyplane. This plane, designed to fly at very high altitudes (up to 70,000 feet) and relatively slow speeds, was at the leading edge of US reconnaissance technology. When Powers was shot down during a mission over Russia, and his aircraft retrieved by the Russians almost intact, it was regarded as a major setback both diplomatically and militarily. Being shot down in 1960 was the event that made Powers a household name.
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