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Southwest Airlines Captain brings His Father home (KIA)

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jnelsoninjax    14,132

For 52 years, Bryan Knight relived the last time he saw his father. 

One January morning in 1967, when Bryan was five years old, he visited Dallas’s Love Field for the first time—his father, Roy Knight Jr., was set to report to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, and Bryan and his family were there to see him off. To this day, Bryan remembers the sound of his mother, Patricia, sobbing as his father left.

Several months later, on May 19, 1967, Roy Knight Jr.’s plane was shot down over enemy territory along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Afterward, he was declared missing in action. Halfway across the world, in the tiny North Texas town of Millsap, the Knight family’s lives imploded with that dreaded knock at the door. Overnight, their little A-frame house swelled with visitors who prayed and cried for their loss. “Suddenly, my life was destroyed,” Bryan says. “It was never the same again.” 

By the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. listed roughly 2,600 Americans as unaccounted for. Some had been held captive as prisoners of war or were missing in action. Many of them, including Bryan’s father, were airmen shot down over North Vietnam or Laos, in remote areas that made their recovery unlikely. In 1974, without any further information about what happened to him or many of those still missing, the U.S. government officially declared Knight killed in action.

“From the moment we heard he was missing in May [of 1967], our duty as a family was to have hope no matter what we saw or heard,” Bryan says. “When [he was] declared deceased, we couldn’t have that hope anymore, and we had to move on without those answers.” 

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