Published: Sun, August 11, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Behind the deeply personal mission to bring Vietnam War vet's remains home

Behind the deeply personal mission to bring Vietnam War vet's remains home

A Southwest Airlines pilot experienced a unique opportunity for closure decades in the making on a recent flight from Oakland, California to Dallas' Love Field Airport.

No one reported seeing a parachute get deployed before the crash at the time, and that September, Knight's father was declared dead by the Air Force.

"Our Southwest Airlines family is honoured to support his long-hoped homecoming and join in tribute to Col Knight as well as every other military hero who has paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces".

U.S. Air Force Col. Roy A. Knight, Jr.'s remains arrived at Dallas' Love Field on Thursday and the emotional return was documented by a journalist who was there who covered the shooting in El Paso.

After Knight's plane touched down, the pilot received a message in the cockpit. Knight's remains, which were only recently recovered, were flown home in a plane flown by his son.

Bryan Knight was 5 years old when he saw his father depart Dallas Love Field Airport for Vietnam.

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"When I first got the call it was nearly surreal because I thought it would never happen", Capt. Bryan Knight said in the video. He was listed as "missing in action", and promoted to colonel, before the designation was changed to "killed in action" in 1974. "The entire airport fell silent", Mr Proskow wrote.

According to Knight's obituary, he served as a typing clerk in the Philippines, Japan and Korea before becoming a fighter pilot.

Knight in May 1967 was with the 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron and leading a strike mission in Laos when his plane was shot down. "This is awesome", Bryan Knight said in a video posted by Southwest on Twitter.

Capt Knight, who is an air force veteran, said in a statement that he was "honoured" and "lucky" to have been able to fly his father's remains home. The plane burst into flames and US authorities were unable to retrieve it in the hostile territory, according to The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

Knight will be buried with full military honors in Weatherford on Saturday.

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