Southwest Airlines pilot flies Vietnam veteran dad's remains home to Texas

DALLAS, Texas -- An entire airport stopped to honor the remains of a returning Vietnam veteran, flown home to Texas by his pilot son.

The Southwest Airlines jet received a water cannon salute as it arrived at Dallas Love Field. That's where pilot Brian Knight last saw his father 52 years ago, when he was just five years old, as he left for the Vietnam War.

"As we were walking back to the car my mother was just sobbing and that scared me," Knight told KTVT.

Brian's father, Colonel Roy Knight, was an Air Force Combat pilot. He was shot down just four months later and presumed dead.

Knight followed in his father's footsteps into the Air Force and now flies as a captain for Southwest Airlines.

His wondering what happened to his father ended in June. His father's remains were found and identified. The remains arrived in California on Wednesday.

Knight had the honor of flying them home.

A water cannon salute at Dallas' Love Field Field Airport welcomed the flight from Oakland carrying passengers who had no idea about their captain's touching tribute to his father until they arrived.

"It's ... a phenomenal experience for me, you know? You can't imagine what an honor it is for a son to be able to do that for his father," Knight said.

Relatives watched, along with airport and airline employees, as the casket draped with the American flag was carried off the plane with military honors.

Colonel Knight could be among the last fallen Vietnam heroes from North Texas to come back home.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.