My good friend, Ms. Marty Eddy, the Michigan State Coordinator for the National League of POW/MIA Families and Secretary/Treasurer, POW Committee of Michigan, sent this note to me as an email, today, Father’s Day 2019. It’s an appropriate message for this day and also supports the adage to never give up.
Good morning, everyone. On this Father’s Day 2019, I want to share the words of the son of U.S. Air Roy A. Knight Jr., MIA over Laos on 5-19-1967, as he explains how his dad’s crash site came to be excavated, remains & artifacts recovered, and identification made 52 years after the incident. This is a strong testimony to the power of faith, family, perseverance, and the incredible work being done to bring home the missing.
COL Knight was officially accounted for on June 4, 2019.
We share the joy of this homecoming and pray for others to come.
He’s coming home…
In the next few weeks, my dad, Col Roy A. Knight, Jr. will be coming back to Texas, fifty-two years after his plane was shot down while he was attacking a target in northern Laos. He was listed as Missing in Action until 1974 when all MIA’s were declared Killed in Action. Since that time, there have been visits and two excavations in the area of his crash site in an attempt to recover Dad’s remains.
In early 2018, a Special Survey Team of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) evaluated Dad’s crash site for further excavation. These very dedicated professionals, most of whom are active duty military from all branches of our armed services, included eight experts in their fields, covering disciplines ranging from explosives ordinance disposal, aircraft life support, linguists, medics, communications and forensic specialists. The Senior Recovery Expert on this team insisted that the site be excavated. Had he not been so adamant, our case would have been moved back to the bottom of the list again.
In February of this year, another 16-member Recovery Team spent almost a month on the site excavating and searching for my father’s remains. They included the Team Leader an Army Captain, a Team Sgt, a Senior Recovery Expert (Archeologist), two Explosive Ordinance Disposal airmen, a Life Support Investigator, two Medics, a photographer, a linguist, four Recovery NCO’s and two Comm personnel. They were successful in recovering various material items such as small pieces of torso harness, helmet and visor fragments, survival vest and parachute fragments among other items. Additional items recovered were small pieces of black Dymo label that were embossed with “MAJ” and “KNI” exactly as it appeared on the visor of Dad’s flight helmet. Finally, human remains were also recovered
Last week we received word that the remains recovered were indeed positively identified as Col Roy A. Knight, Jr. We cannot say enough how grateful we are to those amazing members of the Teams who made the recovery of our father possible. The risk, privation, sacrifice and miserable hard work involved in this undertaking are a testimony to the fine men and women who serve in your Armed Forces. They have been relentless in their quest to make sure that no warrior is left behind. We are so very proud of them.
My dad’s remains currently are at the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii waiting to be escorted back to the Texas he loved, to be laid to rest next to his brothers and mother and father. The escort will be an O-6 (Colonel) or higher. We will be waiting on the ramp when he arrives in Dallas. He will be buried at Holder’s Chapel (named for his grandfather who founded it) in Cool, TX, among the post oaks that grow there. This is the land where he grew up; where he hunted, trapped, fished and played ball. It’s as Texas as you can get. And it’s family.
It has been a long haul. To all those who kept the faith and the memory of Dad, “Thank You.” Your support was more meaningful than you will ever know. There will be a service with full military honors, including a flyby of fighters. We will put the word out once the arrangements have been made for his service. I expect it will be well attended.
My Dad is coming home.
Roy (the son) lived in Michigan for part of the 80s and was President of the POW Committee of Michigan when the “Michigan Remembers” POW/MIA Memorial was unveiled and dedicated on National POW/MIA Recognition Day in 1986. A job transfer took him and his family to another state in 1987.
Never give up.
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