It's April 14, 2013, and Southwest is headed to Puerto Rico. A few months back, Jose Pacheco and I recieved a call from Captain Mark Montgomery, Dallas Base Chief Pilot, asking if we would be available to fly the first flight into San Juan. We said...YES! I was born and raised in Santurce, PR a suburb of San Juan. I always knew I wanted to be a Pilot, and my parents did everything in their power to keep that desire alive. We visited the San Juan Airport frequently. I saw the Concorde and the Pope's airplane land for the first time at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. Standing on the walls of El Morro, the castle that guards the entrance to the San Juan Bay, I watched the Blue Angels perform an air show with maneuvers so close to the water that I had to look down. I was hooked. I attended the University of Puerto Rico and enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program. After graduation, I served in the military and had the opportunity to fly C-21A and KC-10A. The military took me all over the world, and Southwest takes me all over the United States.
Today, Southwest takes me home!
It is an honor be the part of the crew on Flight #126.
I want to say thank you to all my Southwest co-workers, but in particular, Mark, Dumbo, and Keith from the Dallas Pilot Base, Steve, Karston, Kirk, and Tim from Flight Ops, and Kevin, Tim, and John from the Procedures Development Team.
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I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. My Mom always insisted on doing “special things” to expand our education and culture. She would take us to museums, music festivals, and to watch the US Navy Blue Angels air show - I was hooked with aviation! I decided to join the Air Force and after pilot training started flying for the military. I spent over ten years on active duty and decided to switch to the Air Force Reserves in order to give the airlines a try. On Saint Patrick’s Day 1994, I started training to be a Southwest Airlines Pilot. Today and over 20,000 hours of flying time later, I am extremely proud to work for Southwest.
Southwest Airlines continues to grow with our first service/destination outside of the continental United States. Lucky for you and me our first expansion market is San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rican’s are unique persons. They place incredible importance on Family, Work, Friends, Culture, Music, Food, Having Fun and sharing whatever they have with you. Southwest Airlines is the same way. We call it the Golden Rule! Treat others the same way you want to be treated, have a Servants Heart, a Warrior Spirit, and Live with a Fun Loving Attitude. I am home at Southwest!
There are many rules to follow when you are piloting a commercial aircraft. But one great thing is you get to know the Pilot sitting next to you. Many times you talk about your Heritage, Culture, and you must always answer the big question – how do you get to San Juan? I am proud to say that the answer as of today is, “On Southwest Airlines!”
I always told my Family and Friends that Southwest would fly to Puerto Rico. The introductory fares are amazing so go check them out on Southwest.com.
Take a break from your busy schedule, make plans to enjoy “El Yunque” the rain forest, the bio-luminescent bays, the Spanish Virgin Islands, a walk down Condado, a day in Old San Juan, touring a rum factory, or just relax and enjoy the beach.
I’ll see you on board. Glad to have you!
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