MIA Vietnam vet's son flies his remains home 52 years later

Cheryl Sanders
August 12, 2019

More than five decades ago, Air Force Col. Roy Knight's plane went down in Vietnam, and his family never knew exactly what happened to him.

- Bryan Knight was five years old when he said goodbye to his father, Major Roy Knight, a US Air Force pilot, at Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas.Major Knight was shot down in May 1967 while on a combat mission over Laos and his remains were only recently recovered and identified.

Once the younger Knight learned that his father's remains had been found, he launched the process of repatriating them.

Earlier this year, human remains were discovered near the crash site.

Southwest said in a statement to NBC News that Knight was received with full military honors at the airport to "express a nation's thanks" for his service to the country.

His son, Bryan, was just 5 when he saw his father off to war at the same airport. After that, Proskow recalled, the emotional gate agent "struggled to say what came next: 'Today the pilot of the plane bringing Col. Knight home, is his son".

"To be able do this, to bring my father home, I'm very, very honored and very lucky". Born in 1931, he graduated high school in 1947 and enlisted in the Air Force days after his 17th birthday.

Col. Roy A. Knight Jr. was shot down May 19, 1967, as he led an airstrike in northern Laos.

According to Knight's obituary, he served as a typing clerk in the Philippines, Japan and Korea before becoming a fighter pilot. He was declared missing, and officially presumed dead in 1974.

Canadian journalist Jackson Proskow witnessed Knight's return home while waiting for his own flight in the Dallas airport and documented the event on Twitter. They were first flown to Honolulu, and then transferred to an Oakland, California-bound Southwest Flight, Business Insider reported. "He deserves it", Knight told Global News.

Col. Knight will be buried on Saturday in Weatherford, Texas.

Knight's welcome home ceremony stands in contrast to the conditions of the U.S.'s fewer than 850,000 living Vietnam veterans, many of whom still suffer from the aftereffects of combat.

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