Southwest Pilot Flies Late Father’s Remains Home

On August 8th, 2019, Captain Bryan Knight made one very special flight. Captain Knight flew from Oakland to Dallas on a Boeing 737. Also on board the flight were the remains of his father. After 52 years, his father’s remains were coming back home.

Southwest Airlines Colonel Knight
For Captain Knight, this was a very special flight. Photo: Southwest Airlines

The history

Southwest Airlines provided Simple Flying with a brief background story regarding the flight.

When Southwest Airlines Captain Bryan Knight was just five years old, he made a trip to Dallas Love Field to send his father, Col. Roy Knight, off to the Vietnam War. That day in 1967 would be the last day he saw his father, as just a few months later Col. Knight’s jet was shot down, and he went missing in action for decades.

For many family members of servicemen, this is one of the hardest moments in their lives. As a five-year-old child, it is hard for most to understand what Captain Knight went through in 1967 at Dallas Love Field. But, it is incomparable to the pain and suffering a family goes through when hearing a loved one will not be coming home. Fifty-two years later, the Knight family received some welcome news.

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Earlier this year, Captain Knight learned that his father’s remains were positively identified, which began the mission of returning Col. Knight to his home in North Texas. On Thursday, his son flew his father home to Love Field where Col. Knight was received with full military honors to express a nation’s thanks for his service to our country. 

On Thursday, August 8th, 2019, Captain Knight flew his father’s remains home on the last leg from Oakland to Dallas.

Captain Knight arrival
Captain Knight’s remains finally made it home on August 8, 2019. Photo: Southwest Airlines

The arrival

Southwest Airlines, Love Field Airport, and many operations came together to ensure the family and Colonel Knight would be met with the utmost honor and respect. The aircraft was met with a water cannon salute and the family was allowed on the ramp to witness the unloading of the Colonel’s remains by an Air Force honor guard.

Colonel Knight was received by Air Force honor guard members. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Captain Knight

Speaking to the New York Times, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson confirmed that Captain Knight has flown for Southwest for 20 years. Throughout all of this, it appears that Captain Knight cherished the experience. It is clear that he did his duty with pride.

Captain Knight seemed to cherish the experience. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Video

Southwest Airlines released a video detailing the entire event. Warning: the video may cause an emotional response. It is incredibly touching

In the terminal, it seems that nearly every passenger came to watch the arrival of the flight. The impact of this moment is clear.

Overall

This flight was special on all counts. From the passengers on the flight to those in the terminal to the Air Force honor guard, this made for one incredibly special day for the Knight family. Above all, the full-circle nature of this story is incredible.