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Son of American Vietnam vet remembers father decades after death

Roy Knight Jr. was a pilot during the Vietnam War

Col. Knight-an A-1E fighter pilot from North Texas who joined the Air Force days after his 17th birthday, according to an obituary-flew nearly daily combat missions in Vietnam before the 36-year-old was shot down on May 19, 1967.

Brian Knight remembers saying goodbye to his father at Dallas Love Field in January 1967, even though he was only 5 years old.

According to the Department of Defense, Air Force Col. Roy Knight, Jr. was 36 when he was leading a team of A-1 Skyraiders on a mission over Northern Laos.

He received his orders to go to war in 1966 and was deployed to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, from where he flew daily combat missions. He now flies as a captain for Southwest Airlines.

"It was a very moving moment", said Dallas Love Field airport spokesman Chris Perry. "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".

Jackson Proskow was at Love Field Airport in Dallas preparing to board a plane home to Washington D.C. after going to El Paso when the aircraft arrived.

Proskow tweeted that the announcement about Knight's arrival was made over the intercom and that the gate agent had been overcome with emotion relaying the story to travelers. Bryan Knight flew the plane transporting the flag-draped casket.

"Incredible moment to watch. The entire airport fell silent".

"How many people would ever have the opportunity to do this", Knight said.

And several noted his return presented a rare moment of unity in the U.S., following a pair of mass shootings in Texas and OH this week that have shaken the country.

"To be able to do this, to bring my father home, I'm very, very honored and very lucky", Knight said in a video released by Southwest. On behalf of regional approach, we welcome your father, Col. Knight, home.

A few months later, US Air Force Maj. In 1957, he was accepted for pilot training in Texas and after the program served as a fighter pilot in France and Germany. After his remains were identified 52 year later, his body was returned to the United States by his son, a pilot with Southwest Airlines. He reported to the 602nd Fighter Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in January of 1967, and flew combat missions nearly daily until being shot down May 19 of that year.