While attempting to document the nuclear capabilities of the USSR, CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down by a Soviet surface-to-air missile on May 1, 1960. Captured by the KGB, he was interrogated, convicted of spying, and sentenced to ten years. However, in February 1962, arrangements were made between the Soviet Union and the United States for a prisoner trade with captured Soviet KGB spy, Rudolf Abel. The two spies were brought to the Glienicker Bridge and exchanged.
Over fifty years later, Steven Spielberg would bring this incredible story to the big screen. Bridge of Spies earned six academy award nominations and was a box office hit.
The public is invited to a free screening of the Bridge of Spies film on Saturday, March 14 at 3 pm. The following day, Sunday, March 15, Francis Gary Powers, Jr. will speak at the library at 3 pm about his latest book, Spy Pilot and discuss little known details about the U2 incident.
Powers is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, and Honorary Board Member of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. He is the author of Letters from a Soviet Prison (2017) and Spy Pilot (2019). He lectures internationally and appears regularly on C-SPAN, the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels. These events are free and open to the public thanks to the Friends of the Coronado Public Library.