A Vietnam War pilot’s remains were flown home to Texas by his son, a Southwest pilot

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The last time Bryan Knight saw his father Roy, Bryan was 5 years old, and Roy was leaving for the Vietnam War.

During the war, US Air Force Maj. Roy A. Knight Jr. went missing in action. It was May 19, 1967, and he was 36 years old.

On the day he died, Roy Knight was a pilot in charge of a flight of two A-1E Skyraider aircraft that were on a strike mission over Laos. His aircraft was shot down, and after rescue efforts were initiated, he wasn’t found.

Roy Knight had been listed as Missing In Action until the U.S. Air Force declared him dead in 1974. During that time, he was promoted to Colonel.


“He flew combat missions almost daily until being shot down May 19, 1967,” Roy Knight’s obituary says. “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.”

In March 1994, the site where Knight’s aircraft crashed was excavated and Air Force investigators found life support items. According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s press release, the area was examined four additional times in subsequent years. Human remains were finally discovered there early in 2019, and testing found it to be the missing pilot.

Bryan Knight, who holds the rank of Captain with Southwest Airlines, was given the honor of flying his father’s remains back to their home state of Texas, where Roy Knight was given a Dignified Arrival.

Here’s a piece about the touching tale that aired on CBS Evening News:

He was flown to the Dallas Love Field Airport, the same place young Bryan said goodbye to his father 52 years before, on Aug. 8.

“It’s an incredible opportunity that I wouldn’t have in a million years thought I was going to have,” Bryan Knight says in the YouTube clip.

A reporter for Canada’s Global News was at the airport when the flight landed and posted a Twitter thread about seeing it:

He narrated further in additional tweets, such as this one:

Services and full military honors for Roy Knight took place on Aug. 10, 2019.

As of the beginning of August, there were still 1,587 U.S. Defense Department personnel unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. It was a brutal experience for those who served — more than 75,000 Vietnam veterans are disabled.

For information on family members and additional support, contact the Air Force Casualty Assistance Office at (800) 831-5501.

The Knight family is blessed to have closure on the whereabouts of Roy Knight, and we’re glad he has been laid to rest in his home state.

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Mandy Gambrell

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