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Tue, Aug 13, 2019

Remains Of Vietnam Fighter Pilot Returned To Texas

Pilot's Son, Now A Southwest Captain, Bought His Father's Remains Home

In May 1967, Air Force Col. Roy A. Knight, Jr., 36, of Millsap, Texas was a pilot with the 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand. On May 19, 1967, Knight was leading a flight of two A-1E aircraft on a strike mission in northern Laos, when his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. No parachute was observed prior to the aircraft crashing and bursting into flames. Additionally, no beeper signals were heard. While search and rescue efforts were initiated, an organized search could not be conducted due to intensity of hostile ground fire in the area. The Air Force declared Knight deceased in September 1974.

In 1991 and 1992, Joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams investigated a crash site allegedly associated with Knight’s loss, recommending it for excavation. In March 1994, the site was excavated and life support items were recovered. The crash site was investigated four additional times in subsequent years.

In January and February 2019, a joint team recovered possible human remains and additional life support items. The remains were accessioned to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.

To identify Knight’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental analysis, as well as material and circumstantial evidence.

But that is only part of this story.

Last Thursday morning, Knight's remains returned to Love Field in Dallas, where 52 years ago, he said goodbye to his then-5-year-old son Bryan as he left for war. Bryan, who went on to serve in the Air Force, was the pilot of the Southwest Airlines plane that returned his father's remains to Love Field.

The event was witnessed by Jackson Proskow, Washington bureau chief for Canada's Global News, who was travelling from El Paso, TX to Washington, D.C. and was waiting for his next flight at Dallas Love Field. He posted as series of tweets, showing photos of the flag-draped coffin being taken from the airplane and brought to the terminal.

The airport arranged for a water cannon salute for the airplane as it taxied to the terminal. A large crowd gathered to watch form the gate as the plane approached, and the coffin was taken from the plane. Those photos can be seen at the FMI link below.

Proskow described the event as "very emotional". Television station KDFW reports that Knight was to be buried with full military honors Saturday in Weatherford, TX.

(Source: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency an as cited. Images provided by the USAF, and from a YouTube video posted by VOA)

Source report


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