James A. Barnes Jr. U-2 Pilot
The WASHINGTON POST
1150 15th, ST. NW.
WASHINGTON, DC 2OO71
There is a serious mistake in the OBITUARY Column of the July 15th issue of the POST. A correct reference has been made to the death of "James A. Barnes formerly a U-2 spy-plane pilot whose photographs of Soviet missile sites led to a Super-Power showdown'" The following is a major error
The Obituary also reports that:
"He flew a mission over the Soviet Union on the same day in 1960 that another U-2 pilot, FRANCIS GARY POWERS, was shot down and captured."
THIS ABOVE REFERENCE THAT FRANCIS GARY POWERS WAS SHOT DOWN IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. THE POWER U-2 WAS ON AN OFFICIAL U.S, AIR FORCE MISSION AND AS THE AIR FORCE AS CONFINED THAT POWER"S U - 2 WAS NOT SHOT DOWN.
That U-2 had been craftily prepared before its take-off from Pakistan so that when it reached an extremely high altitude, 80,000 or more, its engine/fuel combination would fail and would force Powers to glide to a safe landing in Russia. During the Power's trial in Moscow many other unusual preflight actions were exposed that reveal how that U-2 was prepared for an unplanned landing.
There are plenty of official U.S, Air Force documents that reveal that this is the actual story of that flight.
L. FLETCHER PROUTY
COL. USAF (RET'D)