Starting in 1955, the United States began running surveillance flights over the Soviet Union at altitudes beyond Soviet anti-aircraft ranges. However, in May of 1960, a Soviet Sam II missile struck Francis Gary Powers’ aircraft in Soviet airspace. Plane, pilot and gear were captured by the USSR. The incident proved a major embarrassment to the Eisenhower administration, as they initially denied that the US was running such missions. The successful downing of the U-2 caused a major chill in superpower relations and was a propaganda coup for the Soviet Union.
Time: Mid War
Removed after event: Yes
3 Ops is better than 1 VP, and still better than a chance at 2 VPs. So unless you’re at -18 or -19VPs, play this for the Ops.
Play this for the Ops and don’t think twice about it, unless you’re at -19VPs, in which case space it, duh.
Much more interesting (to me, at least) is whether this card should be “U2 Incident” or “U-2 Incident”. According to both the 1962 United States Tri-Service military aircraft designation system as well as the U.S. Navy Style Guide, military aircraft is always designated with a hyphen (e.g., U-2, F/A-18 Hornet, B-52 Stratofortress). But in Twilight Struggle, both the card and the Player Aid Card List omit the hyphen. (Oddly enough, the historical notes at the end of the rulebook, as reprinted above, do include the hyphen.)
Of course, it is possible that the event is actually referring to an incident involving a certain Irish rock band, and the picture of the plane is just thrown in there to confuse us.