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Bringing Dad Home: The Southwest Pilot That Transported His Veteran Father’s Body Home – 52 Years Later

Written by Charlie

This is the touching story and video of the Southwest pilot that had the honor of returning his Air Force father’s body back to Dallas – 52 years after saying goodbye.

Yesterday, I stumbled on a Twitter feed by a flyer that was heading back to DC from El Paso, via Dallas Love Field. This is a major Southwest airport and he had remarked about some commotion that was going on with an incoming flight. The story of what was going on was really quite emotional, to say the least!

Bringing Dad Home: The Southwest Pilot that Transported His Veteran Father’s Body Home – 52 Years Later

52 years ago, Colonel Ray Knight left to fight the war in Vietnam as an Air Force pilot. He left from the terminal at Dallas Love Field and waved goodbye to his  then 5 year old son, Bryan Knight. Colonel Knight was shot down and only recently recovered and identified.

In the meantime, his son had grown and become a captain for Southwest Air. On what would surely be the most amazing flight of his life, yesterday (August 8), he was able to return his father back to that same airport that he had last seen him alive at.

Captain Knight, the son of Colonel Knight | Image courtesy of Southwest

Southwest put together a video to share his story and the heartwarming moments of the flight. It is an awesome responsibility to pilot home the remains of someone who gave their life for their country. To have that be your own father is just almost too much for words.

The arrival of Colonel Knight at Dallas Love Field | Courtesy of Southwest

I am very glad the Knight family was finally able to get Colonel Knight back to Dallas and that Southwest worked to allow it to happen that his son had that responsibility. According to reports, it was quite an emotional moment at Dallas Love Field when the plane arrived with a water cannon welcome and salutes as the colonel was moved out from the plane.

Watch the video to see it for yourself.

This is the Twitter feed where I had first seen the story.

Featured image courtesy of Southwest

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.