Dallas Love Field paused today for a tremendous sight. The welcomed a hero home. Fifty two years ago, a young 5 year old boy said goodbye to his dad at Love Field. His dad, Capt (posthumously promoted to Colonel) Roy A. Knight, was deploying to Vietnam.
Col Knight first enlisted in the Air Force in 1947. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1953, serving as a personnel officer before being accepted into pilot training in 1957. He served as an instructor pilot at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, Texas before receiving orders to report to the 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron.
According to the The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), “in May 1967, Knight 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.”
An initial investigation of the site found life support equipment but no remains. The site was investigated four additional times. Fast forward to February of 2019 when the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency found human remains. Those remains were sent back to the lab where they utilized dental records and other evidence to positively identify Col Knight this past June.
Today was a day for heroes
The discovery of Col Knights remains set the stage for the beautiful scene at Dallas Love Field. At the same airport where a youngster said goodbye to his dad, that same now-grown man, flew his dad home one last time as the captain of Southwest flight 1228. For a moment, the busyness of a major airport paused as they watched the solemn dignified transfer ceremony take place. Southwest Airlines captured the moment with a very respectful video to capture the unique event and help share the story of a hero, who was lost but is now found…and home.
Thank you Col Knight for your service and sacrifice. Thank you to Captain Bryan Knight for your enduring strength and tremendous sacrifice. Today was yours and your family deserved every moment. Your father’s legacy and your family’s devotion to keep his memory alive continues to make an impact 52 years later with plenty of tears and warm feelings of knowing that a hero is finally back home and at rest.