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Southwest Airlines Community

Captain Lou Freeman Retires After 36 Years of Legendary Service




This time last week Captain Lou Freeman was making his final descent on a career of 36 years of legendary service to Southwest Airlines. Captain Lou Freeman is more than just a retired Pilot; he is a trailblazer, hero, a mentor, a friend, a leader, a husband, and a father.


Captain Freeman was the first African-American Chief Pilot for any major U.S. airline and has been a huge advocate for encouraging diverse youth to pursue careers in aviation. He was one of Southwest’s original Adopt-A-Pilots where he spent time volunteering in the 5th grade classroom.  He has also mentored and encouraged his fellow Employees to reach their dreams within Southwest Airlines. Captain Freeman is not just a Leader in our industry but within the Community as well. A regular volunteer for Southwest’s Continuing the Legacy in Aviation program, Lou has had the honor of giving back alongside the Tuskegee Airmen in an effort to show the participants that hard work and dedication can help them overcome barriers to achieve their dreams. Captain Freeman was chosen to fly Rosa Parks’ remains to her final resting place and he describes it as one of the greatest honors in his life.


We are so thankful for Captain Freeman’s dedication to and passion for Southwest Airlines. Captain Freeman has overcome barriers and made history throughout his life and has done so with grace and humility. Southwest is honored to have been a part of his journey. Even though he has retired, we know his legacy will live on as he continues to inspire others through his words of wisdom and encouragement.  Thank you, Lou, for sharing this very special day with us! We LUV you!