Born June 5, 1965, in Burbank, California, he is the son of Francis Gary and Claudia “Sue” Powers. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration / Certification in Non-profit Management from George Mason University (GMU), Fairfax, Virginia. He earned his Master’s Degree in U.S. History from Adams State University, Alamosa, CO in 2019.
Gary is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, a 501(c) (3) charity located at Vint Hill, VA 45 minutes west of Washington, DC. He founded the museum in 1996 to honor Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history, and educate future generations about this time period. As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study he worked with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts to identify historic Cold War sites for commemorating, interpreting, and preservation. Recently, he consulted for a Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller, Bridge of Spies, about James Donovan who brokered the 1962 spy exchange between KGB spy Rudolph Abel and CIA U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Sr.
In the mid 1990s, as President of the Downtown Fairfax Coalition, Gary founded the City of Fairfax Saturday Morning Community Farmers Market, established the Chocolate Challenge for the Chocolate Lover’s Festival, and produced Old Town Fairfax merchant guides. As CEO of the Vienna Regional Chamber of Commerce between 2000-2005, he led the successful transition from the Vienna Chamber to the Vienna Tysons Regional Chamber which is now the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Gary is the author of Letters from a Soviet Prison (2017), Spy Pilot (2019), and Enemy Territory (2022) which help to dispel the misinformation surrounding the U-2 Incident. He is a past Board Member of the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum near Omaha, NE and an Honorary Board Member of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Because of his efforts to honor Cold War veterans the Junior Chamber of Commerce selected him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” for 2002. Gary lectures internationally and appears regularly on C-SPAN, the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels. He is married and has one son.
Awards, Recognition, and Community Involvement
- Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce (Member) 2020-Present
- The SAC and Aerospace Museum (Board Member) 2018-Present
- International Spy Museum (Honorary Board Member) 2016-Present
- The Cold War Museum (Advisory Board Member) 2010-Present
- Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study (Chairman), 2010-Present
- Rotary International (Member), 1998-Present
- The Benjamin School, Palm Beach, FL (Visiting Scholar), 2017, 2019
- Lawrence Academy, Grofton, MA (J. William Mees Visiting Scholar), 2017
- Virginia Chamber of Commerce (Tourism and Education Committees), 2006-2011
- Virginia Network of Nonprofit Organizations (Public Policy Committee), 2009-2010
- Certificate of Appreciation – U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, 2010
- FBI Richmond Field Office Citizens’ Academy, 2007
- Ten Outstanding Young Americans – United States Jaycees, 2002
- Ten Outstanding Young Virginians – Virginia Jaycees, 1998
- Certificate of Appreciation – Central Intelligence Agency, 1997
- Certificate of Appreciation – National Security Agency, 1997
- Overhead Reconnaissance Preservation Award – National Reconnaissance Office, 1996
December 2017 Francis Gary Powers, Jr. pays his respect to MiG pilot Sergei Safronov in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Sergei Safronov was killed in the line of duty by a Soviet missile while he was trying to shoot down Gary’s father on May 1, 1960 during the U-2 Incident. (Photographer Vladimir Zhabrikov © URA.RU)
Spy Pilot: Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 Incident, and a Controversial Cold War Legacy (2019). Francis Gary Powers standing in from of n F-84 while stations at Turner AFB near Albany, GA c. 1953