1 May 1960 is the anniversary of Francis Gary Powers being shot down somewhere over the Soviet Union in his U-2A by what I call a SAM-2 and everyone else calls an S-75. I assumed the event took place earlier in the year and have to thank my regular engagements with Bryan Swopes’ blog for reminding me. Funnily enough I mentioned the U-2 incident to my American History class last week. Every so often I get close to an anniversary like this, but mostly it’s coincidence. In March 2014 I happened to hit the 70th Anniversary of the “Great Escape” and subjected my class to a few minutes of Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough.
I had a quick riffle through the pages of Wikipedia to find a Public Domain picture of an original U-2 and read briefly that another U-2 was shot down during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I didn’t managed to teach that part and will have to look it up. I will also have refresh myself on the clandestine overflights that were carried out by Canberras and RB-45s flown by RAF aircrews (and the RB-45s had RAF markings) a few years previously.
Many years ago I saw a TR-2 (I think it was) derivative of the U-2 climbing out of RAF Alconbury and watched as best I could while I was driving down the M11 Motorway at the time. I believe I did see the NMUSAF example (basking in the sun in the picture above) at Dayton some years ago. I’m looking forward to going again sometime soon.