October 30, 2020
Capt. Mabbitt, B-1B Weapon Systems Officer
Where are you from and how did you find yourself in Rapid City?
I’m originally from Waco, Texas, home of Baylor University and birthplace of Dr. Pepper. My job brought me to Rapid City, and I absolutely love it. At the risk of sounding cliché, I love the great outdoors – something the greater Rapid City area has a lot to offer. Although I enjoy ice fishing, snowboarding, and hanging out at Hippie Hole, my favorite thing to do is hike the many beautiful trails in the Black Hills. I think my favorite is Crow Peak (for the challenge and the view), though Cathedral Spires and Black Elk Peak have wonderful views as well.
Why did you join the Air Force?
I have been active duty just over four years, though my Air Force journey really started about seven years ago. In 2013, I realized that my career goals (and my interests in general) were quite varied. I wanted to travel the world, learn multiple languages, be exposed to leading-edge technology, and all the while be able to help others. Combined with my desire to serve my country, all of those factors led me to join ROTC at Baylor University, with the end goal of building a career that let me do all of the above. I’ve been blessed with a job that is both challenging and rewarding, and I look forward to what my future in the Air Force has in store.
What does it mean to be a B-1B Weapon Systems Officer?
For those who are unfamiliar with the B-1, or the BONE, and its crew composition, there are two Pilots and two Weapon Systems Officers (WSOs) on board. On any given day, the WSOs can perform one of two roles: Offensive Systems Officer (OSO) or Defensive Systems Officer (DSO). As the names suggest, the OSO will handle most of the jet’s offensive capabilities, to include targeting, navigating to said targets, and commanding the actual weapon launches. The DSO, however, is responsible for defending the jet from any number of threats to the aircraft. One of my favorite aspects of the job is how complex it can be, and since I’m qualified as both an OSO and DSO, each day looks very different.
Tell us where the Air Force has taken you and what languages you speak.
Though most of my travel has been on my own time, the Air Force has definitely taken me to some memorable places. Among my favorites are Las Vegas and Rapid City, though Chicago, Pensacola, and Europe deserve honorable mentions. Las Vegas and Chicago were pretty quick trips to attend conferences, but both cities have a lot to offer – specifically Chicago and its jazz scene. When it comes to assignments, I fell in love with the Emerald Coast’s aerial views while flying the T-6 trainer jet in Pensacola, Florida. The coolest place I’ve been also happens to be one of my highlights in my time flying in the B-1, as I flew a 23-hour non-stop mission to Sweden and Norway to train with our partner and ally. As for the languages I speak, I can only claim Russian, English, and maybe French. I grew up in Panama (Howard Army Base), but lost my Spanish fluency when I moved back to the states. I dabbled in German and Italian in college, but most of my effort went to French and Russian. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Russian, but would only consider myself conversational in French.