After 52 years, the remains of Flying force pilot Col. Roy Knight Jr., who was shot down in 1967 throughout the Vietnam War, have actually finally gotten back.

And the airplane that brought them, an industrial jet owned by Southwest Airlines, was flown by Knight’s child Bryan Knight, a captain with the airline company.

The remains got here Thursday in a flag-draped coffin at Dallas Love Field– the same airport where Col. Knight stated goodbye to his then-5-year-old son.

“When I first got the call, it was nearly surreal,” Bryan Knight told Southwest Airlines. “I really didn’t think it would ever occur. Wow, you know, he’s really getting home. We’re going to be able to bring him back, and we’re going to belong where we can honor him.”

Roy Knight Jr. was shot down in May 1967 while pursuing a target on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.

Military authorities state the crash website was browsed several times since the 1990s. Remains linked to Knight lastly emerged this year and were identified in June.

Knight’s obituary describes him as “a devoted and loving kid, bro, partner, father and good friend” who was favored by those with whom he served. Born in 1931, he graduated high school in 1947 and employed in the Air Force days after his 17th birthday. He functioned as a clerk typist in the Philippines, Japan and Korea before beginning pilot training in 1957. He ended up being a fighter pilot, serving in Germany and France prior to returning house in 1963 to work as an instructor pilot.

In 1966, Knight got orders to release to Southeast Asia. He reported to the 602nd Fighter Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai Flying Force Base in January 1967, and flew battle objectives almost daily till being shot down May 19.

He was explained as “missing out on in action” until 1974, when he was noted as “killed in action.” He has been posthumously awarded the Flying force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and 6 Air medals.

Canada’s Global News’ Washington Bureau Chief Jackson Proskow experienced the casket’s unloading. Proskow was on his way home from El Paso, where he had been covering the deadly shooting that took location last weekend. He explained a psychological scene; a moment of goodness in a hard week.

“Airports rarely see minutes of quiet– but for a few quick minutes, Dallas Love Field fell absolutely silent,” he wrote. Observers stood silently at the window, some cleaning away tears. “As Flight 1220 from Oakland cabbed toward the jet bridge, two airport firetrucks supplied a sombre water salute while the ground crew stood in development.”

“It was peaceful, it was lovely and it was a benefit to watch,” he included.

Knight’s welcome home event stands in contrast to the conditions of the U.S.’s fewer than 850,000 living Vietnam veterans, a number of whom still struggle with the side effects of combat. These include severe injuries, post-traumatic tension disorder in addition to health concerns associated with Agent Orange direct exposure. The National Union for Homeless Veterans estimates that nearly half of all currently-homeless veterans served throughout the Vietnam period.

Knight’s service with complete military honors will be held on Saturday 50 miles west of Dallas in Weatherford, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.Copyright 2019 NPR

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