The remains of an Air Force pilot whose plane was shot down in 1967 during the Vietnam War have been returned to Texas by a commercial jet flown by his son.
The remains of 36-year-old Col. Roy Knight Jr. of Millsap arrived at Dallas Love Field. Southwest Airlines Capt. Bryan Knight flew the plane transporting the flag-draped casket in what he describes as the most important flight of his life.
“To be able do this, to bring my father home, I’m very, very honored and very lucky. How many people would ever have this kind of opportunity to do this? This is awesome,” Bryan Knight said. “It’s very touching, everything that I’ve gotten from all the people at Southwest Airlines. … It’s been overwhelming.”
The announcement was made about the war veteran over the intercom at the airport and travelers and workers stopped what they were doing the moment Bryan Knight landed the plane to silently watch, salute and pay their respects to the fallen pilot.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says Roy Knight, whose remains were accounted for 52 years later in June, will be buried with full military honors Saturday in Weatherford. That’s 50 miles west of Dallas.
According to Southwest Airlines, when Bryan Knight was just 5, he made a trip to Love Field to send his father off to the Vietnam War.
“That day in 1967 would be the last day he saw his father as just a few months later, Col. Knight’s jet was shot down and he went missing in action for decades,” Southwest said in a news release.
Roy Knight on May 19, 1967 was with the 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron and leading a strike mission on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos when his plane was shot down.
Military officials say the crash site was searched several times since the 1990s. Searches this year led to remains linked to Roy Knight.
“He was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and six Air Medals for his actions during this time,” according to an online obituary.
By ABC News & Associated Press