March 11, 2021
Westwood Village Rotary Club
Coming up on March 18th: Thomas Pickering
Having just celebrated St. Patrick's Day, WVRC will adopt an Irish theme for this week's program. Tom Pickering received his Master's Degree from UCLA in English/Irish Literature. He will discuss Thomas Cahill's classic book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, which reconstructs an era that few know about and which is key to understanding our cultural heritage. Be sure to invite family, friends and colleagues who may be of Irish descent or who are history buffs.
The District 5280 Pageant of the Arts finals will be held virtually on April 17th, starting at 12:00 noon
Judging by WVRC members for the 2021 Pageant of the Arts contests is now under way. All members should have received emails with links to the students' entries and judging instructions. Please return your rankings by the end of day on Monday, May 15th. Feel free to contact Youth Services Chair Phil Gabriel with any questions.
Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting - March 11, 2021
President Nancy called the Zoom meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. Tom Barron led the Pledge, followed by Gordon Fell with the Thought for the Day.

Ed Gauld led the singing of the "Air Force Song."

There were 3 guests attending including Sam Bishop from the Santa Cruz Rotary Club, Tamara Bailey, a former member of the Westwood Village Rotary Club, who is now a PhD, and Jeff Ebenstein, the Director of Policy & Legislation for City Council member Paul Koretz.  Jeff is a potential new member for the club and interested in many of the projects the club has been involved with.

President Nancy highlighted a number of Rotary events occurring now and in the next few weeks, including the Rotary Peace Fellowships (contact her for more details), World Rotaract week (this week but our UCLA Rotaractors have finals this week), Pageant of the Arts (local on-line competition happening this week with more details to follow in an email from Nancy), Camp Pendleton contributions on March 13th and 14th locally, and Virtual RYLA signups beginning this week.
Marsh Hunt introduced our speaker for the day, Francis Gary Powers, Jr the son of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Sr. who was shot down over the USSR in 1960.  Gary has been a member of Rotary since 1996 and is the author of 2 books including, Letters from a Soviet Prison (2017) and Spy Pilot: Gary Powers, the U-2 Incident, and a Controversial Code Was Legacy (2019).  He was also a technical consultant for the movie, "Bridge of Spies," a 2015 historical drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg.

Because his father died in a helicopter crash when Gary was young, he wanted to learn more about his father and the Cold War and the downing, capture and eventual release of his father by the Russians.  So he read the letters his father sent while in the Soviet prisons and used the material for his first book written in 2017.  There were many false theories including that his father was not shot down at 70,000 feet above the earth.  He was shot down at 70,500 feet above the earth by a SA2 missile fired from Soviet MIG fighter.  Gary’s father was sentenced to 10 years in prison and served 3 months in a KGB prison and 18 months in a another prison.  Eventually his father was released in Germany when the U.S. agreed to trade a Soviet spy captured in the USA.  

When Gary’s father returned to the US both the air force and the CIA did not want to employ him because of his being so well know by the world. He had 8 more years to work toward his 20 year retirement.  He went to work for Lockheed the U-2 plane supplier, and later was able to receive a normal 20-year Air Force/CIA retirement package.
Gary Jr wrote his second book after 5 years of research in 2019, to clear up many misunderstandings about his father and pushed to be a technical consultant on the Bridge of Spies movie in 2015 to make sure the movie presented a truthful story of his father.

As more information is declassified by the US government, it becomes clear the U-2 pilots were were on a military mission over a foreign country which could have led to a war between the U.S. and the USSR.  Gary Frances Powers, Sr. was the most experienced U-2 pilot and on his 28th overflight mission when he was shot down.

Gary, Jr. 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.

Gary Jr’s website is and the Cold War web site is

Gary is planning to visit Santa Barbara in November, 2021 and Palm Springs Air Museum in March, 2022.

Commentary provided by Jim Crane.

WVRC 20provided by 20/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director at Large/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director at Large/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing