Francis Gary Powers Memorial – Pound, Virginia - Atlas Obscura
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Pound, Virginia

Francis Gary Powers Memorial

A highway marker that honors a former spy plane pilot and local hero.  

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Francis Gary Powers may be the most famous person to hail from the small town of Pound, Virginia. After, graduating from Grundy High School, he completed college and joined the United States Air Force.

In 1956, Powers was recruited by the CIA for training. Once his training was complete, Powers began flying covert aerial reconnaissance missions. His U-2 was eventually shot down over the Soviet Union in May of 1960. This event caused an enraged Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, to cancel a summit with President Eisenhower. Powers was tried and convicted as a spy. He would spend the next two years in captivity until a prisoner exchange freed the pilot. A decorated veteran, Powers died in a helicopter crash while working for a local news station in 1977.

Know Before You Go

Located on United States Route 23, the Francis Gary Powers plaque is beside the northbound lanes of U.S. 23, at the intersection of Laurel Ridge Drive in Pound, VA.

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