The remains of a U.S. Air Force pilot who died while serving in the Vietnam War were personally flown home by the man’s son, 52 years after the two saw each other for the last time.
When Bryan Knight was only 5 years old he waved goodbye to his father, US Air Force Maj. Roy A. Knight, Jr., at Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas. He had no idea it was the last time he would see his dad.
52 years later, the remains of Col. Knight were brought home. It was Bryan Knight, now a captain with Southwest Airlines, who flew his father home.
Incredible moment to watch. The entire airport fell silent. pic.twitter.com/TGp1X736R7
— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 8, 2019
Col. Kight’s remains landed at Dallas Love Field Airport last Thursday afternoon, the same airfield where he said his last goodbye to his 5-year-old son all those decades ago.
Knight’s return was announced over the intercom at the airport and the entire Dallas Love Field fell silent, something that doesn’t happen very often at an airport.
As the gate agent informed those in the terminal about the soldier, he became emotional, as did many others. Travelers and airport employees gathered near the windows to watch as the plane landed and then taxied under a water salute.
Everyone was pretty much in tears as Col. Knight’s casket was received with full military honors ‘express a nation’s thanks’ for his service to the country. Bryan, the captain of the flight, joined his father’s casket on the tarmac as the soldier was welcomed home.
Knight’s eldest son, Roy Knight III, told reporters that his father’s return was a day the family thought would never happen.
“And the fact that it did is just remarkable, it’s actually miraculous. There’s a lot to this, there’s competing emotions, not only because he’s coming home … which is a good thing, it is a very good thing, but there’s also the aspect that we’re reliving the loss.” he said.
A pilot in the #VietnamWar was killed and his remains were recently identified. Today, his son, also a pilot, flew him back to the last place he saw him alive, @DallasLoveField. I’m so honored to have been able to witness this. WELCOME HOME, SIR! 🇺🇸 @SouthwestAir @usairforce pic.twitter.com/SqUiSHXxSv
— Brittney Ramsey (@_brittneyramsey) August 8, 2019
“Our Southwest Airlines family is honored 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,” the Southwest Airline said in a statement.
Col. Knight was shot down May 19, 1967, as he led an airstrike in northern Laos. He was declared dead in September 1974 after search and rescue efforts had failed. The site of his crash was first excavated in 1994 and revisited several times over the years.
Human remains were found early this year while a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic team were working on the area. Using old dental records, DPAA scientists were able to identify the body as that of Col. Roy A. Knight Jr.
Col. Knight, who was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and six Air Medals, was laid to rest this past weekend on Saturday in Weatherford, Texas.
May God bless and comfort Col. Knight’s family and all military families’ who sacrifice so much for our nations’ sake.