Dee Powers, Francis Gary Powers, Francis Gary Powers, Junior, General George Catlett Marshall, Junior, George Catlett Marshall Museum and Library

The Cold War Museum Of Warrenton, Virginia – Established By The Son Of U-2 Pilot Gary Francis Powers

The Cold War Museum, of Warrenton, Virginia, is located within a former top secret military base, that was established in 1942 as a Army Security Agency monitoring station named the “Vint Hill Farms Station”, that ended its intelligence operations, as a result of the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, upon its closure on June 1997.

Photograph of Gary Francis Powers standing by a U-2 aircraft in the 1960s.
U-2 test flight over Lake Tahoe, California.
Kelly Johnson the designer of SR71 and U-2 with Francis Gary Johnson at the Lockheed at Burbank, California in 1963.

Gary Francis Powers, Junior the son of Gary Francis Powers and Sue Powers established the original musuem in 1996 as a tribute to all Cold War veterans. Francis’s father had served as a U-2 pilot and as an American Cold War era spy. On May 1, 1960, the armed forces of the Soviet Union shot down Gary Francis Powers’s U-2 plane while he was conducting a reconnaissance mission.

During World War II, Vint Hill Farms hosted Japanese Americans whom helped the United States military intelligence interpret axis Japanese communications. During the Cold War the base was used in correspondence to spy missions on the Soviet Union. Vint Hill Farms was utilized as a covert operations center until 1997. Gary Francis Power, Junior established a traveling Cold War Museum in 1996, and in 2011 Francis established the permanent museum in Warrenton, Virginia.

The Cold War Museum at “The Barn”, which was part of the communications setup of the listening post interpreting foreign airways.
Author Philip Andrew Hamilton at the Gary Francis Power exhibit within the Cold War Museum. (November 29, 2020).

On November 29, 2020, Philip Andrew Hamilton had the opportunity to visit the Cold War Museum and spoke with three military veterans; who were volunteers at the facility. Mike, a veteran of Vint Hill Farm, explained the technologies behind past communications devices used by military intelligence in addition to the fact that modern cellular phones utilize four types of radio technologies developed during the Cold War.

The second level of the museum consisted of various exhibits on Area-51, the “Space Race”, Soviet Propaganda and the Strategic Air Command of the U.S. Air Force.

Philip Andrew Hamilton with military veteran Mike Washvill, whom trained at Fort Devens, Massachusetts as an Electronic Warfare and Intercept Systems Repairer. Mike Washvill did a tour in East Germany near the Czechoslovakian border and in 1983 transferred to Vint Farm Station. From 1983 to 1984, Mike Washvill worked on Electronic Material Readiness Activity (EMRA) and Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) equipment at the building behind the current museum. (Photograph taken at second floor of the Cold War Musuem November 29, 2020).

Author’s Note:

In 2019, Francis Gary Powers, Junior spoke to the the George Catlett Marshall Museum and Library regarding the need to identify and preserve former Cold War sites.

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