Fallen Vietnam Hero Finally Returns Home — on a Plane Piloted by His Son
"It was peaceful, it was beautiful and it was a privilege to watch."
Journalist Jackson Proskow recorded an emotional moment in a now-viral Twitter thread when he happened to witness the return of a fallen American military hero while on a layover in Dallas flying home to Washington D.C. from El Paso.
While waiting at the gate at Dallas Love Field airport, Proskow and other flyers were told an incoming flight was carrying the remains of Col. Roy Knight Jr., an American airman who was shot down in combat during the Vietnam War in 1967. According to Proskow, the agent making the announcement explained Col. Knight’s remains had recently been recovered and were finally being returned to the United States.
Our incoming plane is carrying the remains of an American pilot shot down over Vietnam in 1967. His remains were only recently recovered and identified and brought back to the US.
— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 8, 2019
Growing increasingly emotional, the agent then went on to explain that the pilot of the plane bringing Col. Knight home was the fallen airman’s own son, who had last seen his father when he said goodbye as a five-year-old at the same airport to which he was now returning.
“Airports rarely see moments of quiet — but for a few brief minutes, Dallas Love Field fell absolutely silent,” Proskow wrote in a later Global News article following the viral Twitter thread.
According to Col. Knight’s obituary, which Proskow quickly Googled after boarding the plane, the fallen airman was born in Texas and joined the Air Force shortly after his 17th birthday. He became a commissioned officer by 1953, and shipped overseas in January 1967, reporting to the 602nd Fighter Squadron (Commando) at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base where he flew combat missions regularly until he was shot down on May 19, 1967. He was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and six air medals.
Col. Knight’s son, Bryan, is now a captain with Southwest Airlines and flew his father home 52 years after their last goodbye.
“We are so fortunate that they decided to share this moment with us,” wrote Proskow, “Especially in a week when we could all use a little more hope.”
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