One of the most honored ideas in our military is stated simply in this way, “We Will Leave No Man Behind.”
In the terrible reality of war it is a fact that sometimes that idea cannot be honored immediately. There are many reasons why this is so, but we can be eternally thankful that we live in a nation that is dedicated to continuing every effort necessary to bring those who are Missing In Action (MIA) home.
The Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Office (DPAA) leads that effort. In conjunction with local government agencies and with the aid of modern scientific technologies and newer forms of evidence, they continue to find and identify the remains of MIA American servicemen around the world. This site has reported several stories documenting recent successes that the POW/MIA Accounting Office has had in identifying and repatriating MIA servicemen from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
This is yet another of those stories.
In May of 1967, Air Force Capt. Roy A. Knight, serving with the 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, stationed at the Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, led a flight of two A-1E fighter bombers on a strike mission over northern Laos. His plane was hit by intense anti-aircraft fire and crashed in the jungle and burst into flames on impact. In the heat of the encounter, his wingman did not observe a parachute. An aerial search was initiated but was unsuccessful because of the intense ground fire from the enemy in that area. There were no signals heard from Knight’s beeper survival device as well.
The United States Air Force changed Knight’s status on the books from MIA to deceased in September of 1974.
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This is where Defense POW/MIA story comes in. In January and February of this year (2019), with the help of a team of Laotian government searchers found and recovered possible human remains in the area of Knight’s crash. Those remains were sent to the DPAA labs in Hawaii for analysis. They were able to use dental analysis for DNA as well as both material and circumstantial evidence to identify Knight.
The DPAA, and we fellow Americans, are thankful for the help that the local Laotian people gave in this effort.
To date the names of 1,588 servicemen remain on the MIA list from Vietnam. We can be assured that the DPAA is actively continuing its efforts to identify and repatriate all of our MIAs from Vietnam as well as from WWII and Korea.
Knight’s name appears on the “Courts of the Missing” memorial wall at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. A rosette will now be placed next to his name to indicate that he has been accounted for.
Knight will be buried in home ground in Weatherford, Texas, on August 10, 2019.
The Veterans Site wishes to express its gratitude to the Defense Department POW/MIA Accounting Office for all of its efforts to identify and repatriate our MIA servicemen. We are proud to live in a country that makes such incredible efforts to bring our people home.
We send our respect and our condolences to the family of Roy A. Knight. We say to him, “Welcome Home good and noble warrior.” We will never forget your sacrifice in service to the great cause of freedom.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.