A Southwest Airlines pilot has flown his father’s remains back home to the US after they were identified from the Vietnam War.
Captain Bryan Knight flew his father, Colonel Roy Knight Jr, to Dallas Love Field Airport in Texas on Thursday, more than 50 years after he was killed in action during the Vietnam War in 1967.
The airline said Capt Knight had last seen his father when he was five, and said goodbye to him as he left for Vietnam from the same airport in Dallas.
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.
Col Knight served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War, and was shot down on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos in 1967.
His remains were found and positively identified earlier this year, 52 years after his death.
An honour guard from the air force met the plane carrying his remains at Love Field Airport, along with Southwest crew, the airport’s fire department and family members.
In a statement to Southwest Airlines, Capt Knight said: “To be able to do this, to bring my father home, I’m very very honoured and very lucky.
“When I first got the call it was almost surreal because I really didn’t think it would ever happen… he’s really coming home… we’re going to have a place where we can honour him.
“The support and all that’s happened has been phenomenal.”
I’m at the airport in Dallas, waiting for my flight home to DC from El Paso, and something incredible is happening.— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 8, 2019
Jackson Proskow, who was at the airport in Dallas waiting for a flight when the plane flown by Capt Knight came in, said the arrival was “incredible”.
Mr Proskow wrote on Twitter: “As we wait at the gate, we’re told that Captain Knight is coming home to Dallas.
“When he left from this very airport to fight in Vietnam his five-year-old son came to the airfield and waved goodbye.”
As we wait at the gate, we’re told that Captain Knight is coming home to Dallas. When he left from this very airport to fight in Vietnam his 5 year old son came to the airfield and waved goodbye. It was the last time he would see his father alive.— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 8, 2019
Southwest Airlines said: “Earlier this year, Capt Knight learned that his father’s remains were positively identified, which began the mission of returning Col Knight to his home in north Texas.
“On Thursday, his son flew his father home to Love Field where he was received with full military honours to express a nation’s thanks for his dad’s service to our country.
“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.”
- Press Association