An entire airport came to a halt to honor the remains of a returning Vietnam veteran

Via:  flynavy1  •  4 months ago  •  14 comments

An entire airport came to a halt to honor the remains of a returning Vietnam veteran
"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,"

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

When Bryan Knight was 5 years old, he said goodbye to his father at an airport in Dallas, Texas, just before he was sent off to the Vietnam War .

That was the last time he saw his father.

A few months later, US Air Force Maj. Roy A. Knight, Jr., 36, went missing in action. The pilot was leading a flight of two A-1E aircraft on a strike mission over northern Laos when his jet was shot down on May 19, 1967.

No one reported seeing a parachute before the aircraft crashed, bursting into flames, nor were beeper signals heard. He was declared deceased by the Air Force in September 1974. During that time, he was promoted to colonel .

Earlier this year, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency informed Knight that his father's remains had been found.

On Thursday, Knight -- a pilot for Southwest -- flew his father's remains back to the place where he last saw him more than 50 years ago, Dallas Love Field Airport.

When Knight landed at Love Field, his father received full military honors.

"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," Southwest Airlines said in a statement to CNN.

Canadian journalist Jackson Proskow was at the airport, waiting for his flight home, when he heard a gate agent announce the arrival of Knight's flight and shared the story of how the son was flying home his father's remains. 

Proskow, who works for Canada's Global News, captured the moment in a series of photographs and tweets. The photos showed the honor guard waiting for and then carrying the casket, while the ground crew stood at attention. Inside the terminal, passengers and staff lined the windows to watch.

"The entire terminal has come to watch this arrival," Proskow said on Twitter . In another post, he said ," Incredible moment to watch. The entire airport fell silent."

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


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1  seeder  FLYNAVY1    4 months ago

Welcome home Col. Knight.

2  Enoch    4 months ago

Welcome home.

Rest and repose in peace for a life well and selflessly lived.

Those who put it all on the line for our freedom are the best of us.

This is a fitting display of respect of that fact.

Dear Friend FlyNavy1: Thanks for sharing this important article.



2.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Enoch @2    4 months ago

I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of his son, the pilot of the South West aircraft that brought Col. Knight's remains home.  It's difficult.  Pride, sorrow, regrets,  what different emotions would I feel in that position.

Regard Enoch....Happy Friday.  

2.1.1  Enoch  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2.1    4 months ago

Dear Friend and Brother Comrade in Arms FlyNavy1: We probably never know what we will feel until we go through such challenging situations.

What this pilot did to honor his father, memory and legacy is most commendable.

Happy Friday and the best of weekends to you and yours.

P&AB Always.


3  1stwarrior    4 months ago

RIP Col Knight - welcome home.

4  Sunshine    4 months ago

Welcome home Colonel.  

Sparty On
5  Sparty On    4 months ago

Welcome home Colonel.  

You are relieved, RIP.    We have the watch

6  Kavika     4 months ago

Welcome home Colonel. 

The article below was written by Colonel Knight, Jr. brother.

Colonel Roy Abner Knight , Jr.

Junior completed high school in 1947, at the age of sixteen. He had decided, before his senior year in high school, to become a scholar and made exemplary grades. He applied to Texas A&M, but failed to receive a scholarship. He then chose to work until his seventeenth birthday. With reluctant permission from Daddy and Mamma he joined the Air Force in February 1948. He served in administrative work and reached the grade of staff sergeant. In 1953, he completed officer candidate school. Determining that he must attend flight school, if he was to advance as an officer, Junior completed flight training and received his wings at Laughlin Air Force Base in Laredo, Texas, in 1958. Named the outstanding military student in his class, he was assigned to fly jet fighters. Junior had married Patricia Henderson in 1953, and they had three children, Roy III, Gay and Bryan. Junior became a flight instructor and served in that capacity until 1966.In January 1967, with the Vietnam war heating up, Junior left for survivor training in Utah and was then assigned to the 602nd Fighter Squadron (Commando) at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. He began flying search and rescue missions on March 11, 1967. The unit filled its spare time on bombing missions and cover for ground combat.

One week after joining his squadron, Junior, now a major, earned the first of seven Air Medals awarded to him during two months of action.

On March 18, 1967, Junior had just taken off in his bomb laden A-1E Skyraider when his cockpit filled with dense black smoke, obscuring his vision. Engine failure was imminent. He managed to jettison his fuel tank in the only clear area available and elected to retain his complete ordnance load despite the fact that it meant certain death in the even of a crash landing in the heavily populated area surrounding the base. He landed safely and averted a tragedy.

Junior distinguished himself again on April 2, 1967, when he flew into an area of extremely heavy anti-aircraft fire in a low-level search for a downed pilot. Working at altitudes of less than two hundred feet in withering hostile fire for more than an hour, he continually exposed himself in an attempt to make visual contact with the pilot. It was only after darkness and the loss of radio contact made any further attempt futile that he withdrew from the area. His complete disregard for his own safety earned Junior a Silver Star.

On May 14, 1967, while flying as a high element lead consisting of four A11Es and two HH-3C helicopters, Junior led the rescue force through rugged mountainous terrain, poor visibility and extremely intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire to the area of another downed pilot. He successfully located the downed pilot and directed the helicopters in for the rescue under extremely adverse conditions. This time, Junior’s professional competence, aerial skill and devotion to duty resulted in the Distinguished Flying Cross.

We will never know precisely what happened in the cockpit of our brother’s Skyraider five days later on a bombing mission to a North Vietnamese missile site in Laos. We know that we lost him that day and we know that he left this world as he had lived all his life, courageous and devoted to duty. The citation for the Air Force Cross awarded for his actions that day reads:

Major Roy A Knight, Jr. distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against hostile forces as an A1-E: Skyraider pilot in Southeast Asia on 19 May, 1967. On that date, Major Knight led his flight in a strike against one of the most important and heavily defended target complexes in Southeast Asia. Against overwhelming odds Major Knight pressed his attack. His aircraft was struck, resulting in loss of control. Major Knight, fully realizing that he could not regain control, jettisoned his ordnance on the target in a valiant attempt to destroy it and his aircraft subsequently impacted the target area. Major Knight’s unparalleled bravery and courage against virtually insurmountable obstacles were in the highest traditions of the military service. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, Major Knight reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

We are still waiting for a definitive answer to the question of his fate. Perhaps someday we will receive word that his remains have been found. We know this for certain: Jack was right when he said Junior was tough.

airforcecross.png The Air Force Cross silverstar.png The Silver Star distflyingcross.png Distinguished Flying Cross airmedal.png 7 Air Medals with
Oak Leaf Clusters purpleheart.png

On June 25, 1996, Junior’s son, Bryan, risked his life for his fellow airmen during the terrorist attack on the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, for which he received the Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor Device. The citation read in part:

Captain Knight clearly saved the lives of several Air Force members. By his prompt and humanitarian regard for his fellow man, Captain Knight has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States 

6.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Kavika @6    4 months ago

Excellent follow-up piece Kavika…… Thanks for posting.


Sparty On
6.2  Sparty On  replied to  Kavika @6    4 months ago

A Mustang ..... figures.  

The Colonel definitely had "the right stuff" that's for sure.

6.2.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Sparty On @6.2    4 months ago

Yep. Mustangers do it best. Only minor problem with the article was that the Colonel was flying a Douglas A-1E Skyraider. This plane was a propeller driven attack aircraft and not a jet as was stated. That being said, my thanks to FLYNAVY for a excellent article about a very courageous American.

Split Personality
6.2.2  Split Personality  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @6.2.1    4 months ago
Only minor problem with the article was that the Colonel was flying a Douglas A-1E Skyraider. This plane was a propeller driven attack aircraft and not a jet as was stated.

Well the author of the article is very young ( by my standards ) and probably doesn't understand the subtle difference, lol.

Trout Giggles
7  Trout Giggles    4 months ago

Welcome home, Sir. RIP.

8  MrFrost    4 months ago

Welcome home Col.. RIP and may the winds be always at your back. 


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