.....piloted by CIA agent Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the (then) Soviet Union. For those of you who only know U2 as an Irish rock band (man that Bono totally rocked the mullet back in the day, didn't he?), the U-2 is a reconnaissance plane (i.e., it flies really high and takes pictures) built by Lockheed (Skunk Works) in the 1950's. It was "replaced" by the SR-71, but it's still in use today (whereas the SR-71 was retired over a decade ago). (As a side note, while Powers survived being shot down over the Soviet Union, he died in 1977 when the Bell helicopter he was piloting ran out of fuel near Burbank, CA.)
In any event, the U-2 incident caused much embarrassment to the US and (not surprisingly) put a bit of a strain on US/Soviet relations.
Ah, The Cold War. Those were the days, weren't they? Back then all we had to worry about was total world annihilation followed by nuclear winter (for those of us unlucky enough to escape annihilation).
Back then, the Soviets were the ones fucking up Afghanistan.
Regardless, in honor of today, here are a few super awesome pictures that I took a couple of years ago. It's a pretty bad-ass looking plane, no? And the wingspan is ridiculous.