Pilot flies home the remains of Vietnam veteran father
DALLAS – For one Southwest Airlines pilot flying from Oakland, California, to Dallas' Love Field Airport, it was the most important flight of his life.
On Thursday, Captain Bryan Knight was transporting the remains of his father, Air Force Col. Roy Abner Knight Jr., whose plane had been shot down on May 19, 1967, while attacking a target on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, according to an obituary.
His remains were found 52 years later in February.
"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 in a video posted by Southwest on Twitter. "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.
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.
Bryan Knight flew his father's remains home to be "received with full military honors to express a nation's thanks for his dad's service to our country," the airline said.
Captain Knight last saw his father at Dallas Love Field Airport when he was deployed to serve in the Vietnam War. Today, more than 50 years after he went missing in action, Captain Knight flew his father home for the final time.lin pic.twitter.com/RUg0K1c2jN— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) August 9, 2019
Roy Knight's parents died during the war and his wife died in 2008, but he was survived by a sister and brother; his children; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"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," the obituary said.
WFAA said a funeral service with full military honors was scheduled for Saturday.