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