DALLAS (KXAS / NBC News) — More than 50 years after he disappeared in a war zone, the remains of a North Texas fighter pilot are finally home.
Air Force Colonel Roy Knight was killed in action when his plane went down during the Vietnam War. His family gathered at Dallas Love Field as the plane returned. The pilot of that Southwest plane was the colonel’s son.
Bryan Knight was just five years old when he said goodbye to his father, and now he got to bring his dad home.
Employees on the tarmac paused for this special moment along with passengers at the gate.
Col. Knight was just 36 years old when he was deployed to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
The Department of Defense says in May 1967, he was leading a strike mission in Laos when his plane was shot down.
Search and rescue efforts were very limited because the area was so hostile at the time.
It was not until the 1990s that a joint team from the US and Laos began investigating the area. There they found possible human remains and other items, which were sent to a lab for analysis.
It was in June that they finally were able to account for Col. Knight.
“Well, it’s a day we never thought would actually happen and the fact that it did is just remarkable. It’s actually miraculous. There’s a lot to this, there’s competing emotions, not only because he’s coming home — which is a good thing —it is a very good thing, but there’s also the aspect that we’re reliving the loss,” said Roy Knight, III, one of Col. Knight’s sons.
Col. Knight will be moved to Weatherford where he will be buried this weekend.