Tag Archives: Fathers

Son Flies Fighter Pilot Father’s Remains Home to Texas After 52 Years

Son Flies Fighter Pilot Father's Remains Home to Texas After 52 Years

More than five decades after he disappeared in a war zone, the remains of a North Texas fighter pilot have finally come home.

During the height of the Vietnam War, Air Force Col. Roy A. Knight, a 36-year-old from Millsap, deployed to Southeast Asia.



































Col. Roy A. Knight

Photo credit: Roy Knight Family

On May 19, 1967, he was leading a strike mission over the country of Laos when his plane was hit by enemy fire and crashed.

His team never saw a parachute deploy.

Because the region was so hostile at the time, search and rescue efforts were limited, and he was never found.

It would be decades before a joint U.S./Laos team would begin investigating and excavating the area, searching for any sign of Knight and other soldiers who went missing during the war.

In January of this year, they got the breakthrough they were looking for.

The Department of Defense confirmed the team recovered possible human remains and life-support items near the area where Knight’s plane went down.

They were sent to a lab for analysis. And on June 4 — with the help of dental records — Knight was finally accounted for.

“What incredible support we’ve had,” said Roy Knight III, Col. Knight’s son. “The active duty military personnel who actually went in there and spent almost a month on dad’s crash site, excavating the area — the fact that they were able to do that is remarkable.”

Thursday, 52-years after he was shot down, Knight’s remains completed the long journey home. One of his sons, who is now a pilot for Southwest Airlines, got to fly the plane on its final leg into Dallas Love Field.

“The Air Force and Southwest Airlines coming together to make it possible for my brother to fly dad on that last leg — I can’t say enough,” said Knight. “They truly went way beyond themselves to make this happen. And I just could not be prouder to be associated with both of them.”


Col. Roy A. Knight in Vietnam.

Photo credit: Roy Knight Family

Knight, members of his family, local law enforcement, and the Patriot Guard Riders lined the tarmac to greet him as he landed.

Then, after his casket was loaded into a hearse, they formed a procession around him, guiding him to Weatherford, where he’ll be buried this weekend.

“It’s a day we never thought would actually happen,” said Knight. “And the fact that it did is remarkable. It’s actually miraculous. There’s a lot to this. There’s competing emotions. He’s coming home, which is a very good thing – but there’s also the aspect of we’re re-living the loss. We’re really becoming reacquainted with all that in a very real manner…but I had no idea [the reception] was going to be like this. It’s absolutely amazing.”



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Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger Surprises Father and Son on Father’s Day

Dodgers' Cody Bellinger Surprises Father and Son on Father's Day

As Fathers across the country were honored on Sunday, Dodgers’ outfielder Cody Bellinger decided to make one family’s day extra special.

Bellinger surprised Seth Grossman and his son, Paul, at the DICK’S Sporting Goods store in Tustin, CA ahead of the Dodgers Father’s Day matchup against the Chicago Cubs.

Grossman, who is the Northwood Little League President and coach, thought he was going to the store to go shopping with his son, but as the pair walked around the store, they stopped to watch someone hitting in the DICK’s new batting cage.

“Let’s check out his form,” said Grossman to his son. 

After watching the impressive swing in action, the Father and son tandem was shocked when the man turned around and revelead himself to be the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Winner, Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger took the Grossmans inside the store’s new batting cage and talked about his own relationship with his father, Clay Bellinger, a three-time World Series Champion and Cody’s coach when he was in Little League.

Bellinger played in the 2007 Little League World Series for the Chandler, AZ team that was coached by his father. Everything came full circle at the 2017 MLB All-Star Weekend, when the younger Bellinger asked his father to pitch to him during the Home Run Derby in Miami.

At the conclusion of their visit, Bellinger surprised the Grossmans with tickets to the Father’s Day game at Dodger Stadium against the Cubs.

Bellinger is off to a historic start to the season, batting .355 with 22 home runs and 57 RBI.



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Prince Harry, Andy Cohen and More First-Time Dads Who Are Celebrating Their First Father’s Day

Prince Harry, Andy Cohen and More First-Time Dads Who Are Celebrating Their First Father's Day

Prince Harry, Andy Cohen and More First-Time Dads Who Are Celebrating Their First Father’s Day | Entertainment Tonight

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How the Dodgers and Angels Helped Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Follow in his Father’s Footsteps

How the Dodgers and Angels Helped Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Follow in his Father's Footsteps

It’s a quarter past ten at Dodger Stadium when I enter the corridor on the dugout level. It’s lined from wall-to-wall with trophies from triumphs past. Many of them earned by legendary players in baseball lore, some of them enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but this story isn’t about them.

As I approach the elevator, I see Dodgers’ third base coach Dino Ebel standing alone. His weathered face reveals decades of playing baseball beneath the bright sun. He reminds me a bit of Yoda, and maybe he was using the force, because before I speak, he already knows who I was here to talk about.

“I saw you’re playing the Blue Jays in August,” I said.

“Boy, I sure hope he’s still on the team by then,” he replied.

We’re both referring to the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Ebel has a long history with the wunderkind they call “Vladito,” and an even longer history with the organizations that helped make him one of the game’s brightest young stars.

As a player and coach, Ebel has spent the last 31 years with the Dodgers and Angels organizations. Therefore, he’s vastly familiar with the trophies that line the corridor outside the elevator at Dodger Stadium, and he knows what type of player it takes to earn them.

After signing a minor league contract with the Dodgers in 1988, he spent seven years climbing up the ranks before becoming a full-time coach in 1995. Ebel joined the Angels a decade later, and it was there he met Vladimir Guerrero Sr., and his six-year-old son of the same name.

Guerrero Jr. was born in Canada, during his dad’s early playing days with the Montreal Expos. He grew up in the Dominican Republic, but by the time he was five years old, his father had signed with the Angels, and so he spent every summer with his dad in Anaheim between the ages of 5 and 10.

It was during one of those early summers, that Ebel got his first glimpse of the child prodigy, when Guerrero Sr. asked him to hit fly balls and grounders to his son, as well as throw him batting practice.

“He told me to grab the bat,” Vladimir Jr. said through an interpreter of those early days with his dad at Angel Stadium. “I swung the bat like my dad did, and I just did it. I was very comfortable.”

Longtime Angels’ broadcaster Jose Mota was in the infancy of his announcing career when he first saw Ebel hit fly balls and grounders to Vladito. Ironically, Mota also has ties to both organizations. He spent time with the Dodgers in the mid 80’s and his father was highly respected Dodgers’ outfielder Manny Mota.

Now in his 17th year with the Angels, Mota remembers the days when Guerrero Jr. served as the bat boy, and how the short, stocky kid had difficulty dragging his father’s 34-inch, 32-ounce bat back to the dugout.

As Guerrero Jr. grew into a teenager, and out of that short, stocky frame, Mota began to see memories of his father flash before his eyes.

“He just had a natural ability to hit,” Mota told ESPN last week. “And being fearless.”

Both Mota and Ebel’s intuitions were correct, as Guerrero Jr. went from an untamed pony to a full blown thoroughbred by the time he was a teenager. At 16 years old, Guerrero Jr. was ranked the top international free agent entering the 2015 season, a winter that tied together both LA-based teams, sending the young star down a path similar to his father’s.

After watching Guerrero Jr. prowl the outfield during batting practice for six years, the Angels were seen as the likely favorite to sign the son of their first ever Hall of Fame player. However, a precarious move by then general manager Jerry Dipoto destroyed any chance of the Halos bringing the prodigal son back to Anaheim.

In December of 2014, just one year before Guerrero was eligible to enter the international pool of amateurs, Dipoto spent the franchise’s entire international signing bonus money (and more) on a 20-year-old Cuban shortstop named Roberto Baldoquin.

Dipoto believed at the time, that Baldoquin would become a better Major League player than Guerrero Jr., and banked much of the Angels’ future on it. He gave Baldoquin an $8 million signing bonus that knocked them out of contention for Vlad’s son and any other star international player for the next two signing periods.

Meanwhile, Baldoquin has dwindled in the Angels’ farm system ever since, reaching no higher than Double-A in five years in the minor leagues.

With the Angels out of the running for Guerrero, ironically, it was the Dodgers who helped Guerrero Jr. return to the same country that he was born in, the same country that greeted his father when he made his MLB debut.

In the summer of 2015, the Dodgers sent the Toronto Blue Jays over $1 million in international slot money in exchange for Chase De Jong and Tim Locastro. The Blue Jays used that money to sign Guerrero, giving him a $3.9 million bonus. The Dodgers traded De Jong in 2017 for two prospects and designated Locastro for assignment last November.

So Guerrero Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps, making his MLB debut in the Great White North as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus.

Since then, Guerrero Jr. has returned to his father’s old stomping ground at Angel Stadium where current Halo first baseman Albert Pujols, and former Angel Tim Salmon got their first glimpse at the younger Vlad in the big leagues.

“It just seems like he has that same flair, and that same unbridled passion for the game,” said Salmon, who played with Vladimir Sr. from 2004 to 2006. “That’s just really cool, when it’s more than just talent being passed down. It’s also that same fire.”

Pujols remembered meeting Guerrero Jr. as a 12-year-old during the 2007 Home Run Derby at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The then eight-year-old Vladito followed his famous father around the field, eyes-wide, mouth agape, as he watched in awe as “Bad Vlad” hit home run after home run into the seats in left field.

Pujols was also in that derby, and joined the Angels a year after Guerrero Sr. retired and witnessed both Guerreros taking batting practice on the field in 2012.

“He was strong, man,” Pujols said. “Swung just like his dad.”

So far, Guerrero Jr. has struggled to start his MLB career. Through his first 11 games, he’s batting .186/.286/.495 with eight hits, no home runs, and one RBI.

“Nobody’s slightly worried about him, to be honest,”  said Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman of the younger Guerrero. “Everyone knows he’s going to figure it out.”

His father struggled at the start of his MLB career as well. After his first nine games with the Montreal Expos in 1996, the elder Guerrero batted .185/.296/.481 with five hits, one RBI, one home run, and two runs scored; nearly identical numbers to his son over the same span of games.

In his first week in the big leagues, Guerrero Jr. has followed in his father’s footsteps by making his MLB debut in Canada, playing at Angels stadium, hitting without batting gloves, and swinging at whatever pitch he sees.

“Basically, I don’t make adjustments,” Guerrero told NBC LA while in Anaheim. “I just see the ball and hit it. If it’s a good pitch, I will swing.”

On Saturday, Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player in Blue Jays franchise history at 20 years old, to reach base safely four or more times in a game. 

Fans should be excited for Guerrero Jr.’s career, and interested in the Dodgers and Angels imprint on his path to the Majors. If Vladito remains patient, humble, and continues to follow in his father’s footsteps, he too will be in Cooperstown delivering a Hall of Fame speech one day.



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How the Dodgers and Angels Helped Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Follow in his Father’s Footsteps

How the Dodgers and Angels Helped Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Follow in his Father's Footsteps

It’s a quarter past ten at Dodger Stadium when I enter the corridor on the dugout level. It’s lined from wall-to-wall with trophies from triumphs past. Many of them earned by legendary players in baseball lore, some of them enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but this story isn’t about them.

As I approach the elevator, I see Dodgers’ third base coach Dino Ebel standing alone. His weathered face reveals decades of playing baseball beneath the bright sun. He reminds me a bit of Yoda, and maybe he was using the force, because before I speak, he already knows who I was here to talk about.

“I saw you’re playing the Blue Jays in August,” I said.

“Boy, I sure hope he’s still on the team by then,” he replied.

We’re both referring to the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Ebel has a long history with the wunderkind they call “Vladito,” and an even longer history with the organizations that helped make him one of the game’s brightest young stars.

As a player and coach, Ebel has spent the last 31 years with the Dodgers and Angels organizations. Therefore, he’s vastly familiar with the trophies that line the corridor outside the elevator at Dodger Stadium, and he knows what type of player it takes to earn them.

After signing a minor league contract with the Dodgers in 1988, he spent seven years climbing up the ranks before becoming a full-time coach in 1995. Ebel joined the Angels a decade later, and it was there he met Vladimir Guerrero Sr., and his six-year-old son of the same name.

Guerrero Jr. was born in Canada, during his dad’s early playing days with the Montreal Expos. He grew up in the Dominican Republic, but by the time he was five years old, his father had signed with the Angels, and so he spent every summer with his dad in Anaheim between the ages of 5 and 10.

It was during one of those early summers, that Ebel got his first glimpse of the child prodigy, when Guerrero Sr. asked him to hit fly balls and grounders to his son, as well as throw him batting practice.

“He told me to grab the bat,” Vladimir Jr. said through an interpreter of those early days with his dad at Angel Stadium. “I swung the bat like my dad did, and I just did it. I was very comfortable.”

Longtime Angels’ broadcaster Jose Mota was in the infancy of his announcing career when he first saw Ebel hit fly balls and grounders to Vladito. Ironically, Mota also has ties to both organizations. He spent time with the Dodgers in the mid 80’s and his father was highly respected Dodgers’ outfielder Manny Mota.

Now in his 17th year with the Angels, Mota remembers the days when Guerrero Jr. served as the bat boy, and how the short, stocky kid had difficulty dragging his father’s 34-inch, 32-ounce bat back to the dugout.

As Guerrero Jr. grew into a teenager, and out of that short, stocky frame, Mota began to see memories of his father flash before his eyes.

“He just had a natural ability to hit,” Mota told ESPN last week. “And being fearless.”

Both Mota and Ebel’s intuitions were correct, as Guerrero Jr. went from an untamed pony to a full blown thoroughbred by the time he was a teenager. At 16 years old, Guerrero Jr. was ranked the top international free agent entering the 2015 season, a winter that tied together both LA-based teams, sending the young star down a path similar to his father’s.

After watching Guerrero Jr. prowl the outfield during batting practice for six years, the Angels were seen as the likely favorite to sign the son of their first ever Hall of Fame player. However, a precarious move by then general manager Jerry Dipoto destroyed any chance of the Halos bringing the prodigal son back to Anaheim.

In December of 2014, just one year before Guerrero was eligible to enter the international pool of amateurs, Dipoto spent the franchise’s entire international signing bonus money (and more) on a 20-year-old Cuban shortstop named Roberto Baldoquin.

Dipoto believed at the time, that Baldoquin would become a better Major League player than Guerrero Jr., and banked much of the Angels’ future on it. He gave Baldoquin an $8 million signing bonus that knocked them out of contention for Vlad’s son and any other star international player for the next two signing periods.

Meanwhile, Baldoquin has dwindled in the Angels’ farm system ever since, reaching no higher than Double-A in five years in the minor leagues.

With the Angels out of the running for Guerrero, ironically, it was the Dodgers who helped Guerrero Jr. return to the same country that he was born in, the same country that greeted his father when he made his MLB debut.

In the summer of 2015, the Dodgers sent the Toronto Blue Jays over $1 million in international slot money in exchange for Chase De Jong and Tim Locastro. The Blue Jays used that money to sign Guerrero, giving him a $3.9 million bonus. The Dodgers traded De Jong in 2017 for two prospects and designated Locastro for assignment last November.

So Guerrero Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps, making his MLB debut in the Great White North as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus.

Since then, Guerrero Jr. has returned to his father’s old stomping ground at Angel Stadium where current Halo first baseman Albert Pujols, and former Angel Tim Salmon got their first glimpse at the younger Vlad in the big leagues.

“It just seems like he has that same flair, and that same unbridled passion for the game,” said Salmon, who played with Vladimir Sr. from 2004 to 2006. “That’s just really cool, when it’s more than just talent being passed down. It’s also that same fire.”

Pujols remembered meeting Guerrero Jr. as a 12-year-old during the 2007 Home Run Derby at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The then eight-year-old Vladito followed his famous father around the field, eyes-wide, mouth agape, as he watched in awe as “Bad Vlad” hit home run after home run into the seats in left field.

Pujols was also in that derby, and joined the Angels a year after Guerrero Sr. retired and witnessed both Guerreros taking batting practice on the field in 2012.

“He was strong, man,” Pujols said. “Swung just like his dad.”

So far, Guerrero Jr. has struggled to start his MLB career. Through his first 11 games, he’s batting .186/.286/.495 with eight hits, no home runs, and one RBI.

“Nobody’s slightly worried about him, to be honest,”  said Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman of the younger Guerrero. “Everyone knows he’s going to figure it out.”

His father struggled at the start of his MLB career as well. After his first nine games with the Montreal Expos in 1996, the elder Guerrero batted .185/.296/.481 with five hits, one RBI, one home run, and two runs scored; nearly identical numbers to his son over the same span of games.

In his first week in the big leagues, Guerrero Jr. has followed in his father’s footsteps by making his MLB debut in Canada, playing at Angels stadium, hitting without batting gloves, and swinging at whatever pitch he sees.

“Basically, I don’t make adjustments,” Guerrero told NBC LA while in Anaheim. “I just see the ball and hit it. If it’s a good pitch, I will swing.”

On Saturday, Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player in Blue Jays franchise history at 20 years old, to reach base safely four or more times in a game. 

Fans should be excited for Guerrero Jr.’s career, and interested in the Dodgers and Angels imprint on his path to the Majors. If Vladito remains patient, humble, and continues to follow in his father’s footsteps, he too will be in Cooperstown delivering a Hall of Fame speech one day.



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‘I Just Love Him More Than Anything’: Woman Mourns ‘Hero’ Father’s Loss

'I Just Love Him More Than Anything': Woman Mourns 'Hero' Father's Loss

Julia Ackley said her her father was known as Antonio or Tony Pastini but was born Jordan Isaacson and was an experienced pilot.

He had been flying for decades and like he often he did came to Orange County to visit her and her daughter.

He lived in Nevada, a popular businessman who trained restaurant owners about food and health safety. He also owned a sushi restaurant, a tree farm in Oregon and also has a twin brother.

He died when his Cessna airplane broke apart and crashed into a Yorba Linda home Sunday, also killing four people inside the home.

Daughter of Pilot Killed in Small Plane Crash Speaks

[LA] Daughter of Pilot Killed in Small Plane Crash Speaks

While the National Transportation Safety Board investigates, his daughter spoke out about the licensed pilot who could fly single and multi-engine planes and helicopters. He was recently certified to fly medical missions for Angel Flights, a non profit organization that provides free air transportation to people with medical needs.

The former Chicago police officer was a hero to his daughter.

She shared their last conversation with her father and pictures of him and her family.

“He was heading home,” she said sobbing. “The conversation was about his granddaughters grades, about starting the softball team and how excited she was that he was coming to her very first game and making plans to go flying with him. “I just love him more than anything. I miss him more than anything.”

Pastini leaves behind four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.



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