Military Heroes Month: SWA First Officer Named Citizen Airman of the Year

Dec 5, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Southwest has a rich tradition of supporting the United States Military, and in particular, the Employees who have served and continue to serve. It’s only fitting that one of our very own Pilots was acknowledged by the Air Force Reserves for his brave service to our country along with Southwest being recognized as a Company that supports service men and women.

Southwest Airlines First Officer Rob Sweet was recently awarded the 2012 Citizen Airman of the Year Award by the U.S.  Air Force Reserves. Rob flew combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and was shot down and captured by Iraqi forces. He joined Southwest last year after retiring from active duty in the Air Force. A 1988 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Rob flies A-10s in the Reserves with the 476th Fighter Group at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

In addition to one of our own being honored by the Air Force Reserves, the Company also was presented an award: the 2012 Citizen Airman and Employer of the Year award in the officer category. Citizen Airmen nominate their employers for this award, which recognizes Reservists and honors their employers' support.

MCO Chief Pilot Captain John Fluhart accepted the award on behalf of Southwest. In his words: “It was an honor to be present to accept the award on behalf of the Company. As an active drilling Reservist, I fully appreciate what an incredible level of support the Company provides our men and women serving in the Reserves.”

Pictured above, from left to right: Sandy Schlitt, AFA Chairman of the Board: Lt. Col. Rob Sweet, MCO First Officer, winner of the Air Force Citizen Airman of the Year; MCO Chief Pilot Captain John Fluhart; and Lt. Gen. Jackson, Chief of the Air Force Reserve

Patriotism runs deep at Southwest Airlines, and we are proud of all those who serve, especially the nearly 5,800 Active Duty, Reservists, and Veterans who are part of the Southwest Family.  In celebration of Military Heroes Month in November, you’ll hear about and read blogs about service, how we honor the military, the sacrifice these heroes make, and how we celebrate the brave who fight for our Freedoms.