Knucklebusters celebrate 36 years of heritage

  • Published
  • By Staff Report
  • 22nd/931st Maintenance Groups

The 22nd and 931st Maintenance Groups hosted the 36th Annual Knucklebuster Awards Banquet on Oct. 14.

The Knucklebuster is an annual event that recognizes the outstanding achievements of the maintainers within both groups.

McConnell’s Knucklebuster started in 1981 as a dining-in, then in 1987 they opened the event to families, making it a dining-out style. McConnell has hosted the most consecutive Knucklebuster banquets in the Air Force.

McConnell’s Knucklebuster is a peer-voted award with less than five percent of those in the groups selected.

“It means so much more to receive an award from the people you work alongside of every day,” said Airman 1st Class Dustin Coleman, a 22nd Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental systems journeyman. “It is a great feeling to be a Knucklebuster.”

This year, 36 maintainers from the 22nd and 931st MXGs received awards. The 22nd Operations Group even joined in by voting and selecting the hardest-working flying crew chief for the High-Flyer Award.

This year’s banquet also honored military heritage by encouraging Airmen and their families to wear any authorized prior U.S. military uniform as part of a “throwback” theme.

Lt. Gen. John B. Cooper, Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection deputy chief of staff, was the guest speaker at the banquet. He spoke to the spirit of the event, and he read off some classic aircraft forms write-ups and pumped up the crowd with a video. Before the event, Cooper spent the day seeing first-hand the airpower that McConnell’s maintainers produce.

The Knucklebuster allows the groups to spend time together and recognize their hard work and accomplishments during the year. The two groups have supported approximately 5,300 sorties, offloading nearly 90 million pounds of fuel with more than 600 maintainers deploying to multiple locations around the globe.

“In this time of unrelenting operations tempo and insatiable appetite for tanker support, it is important to give our maintainers a chance to let loose and celebrate, and to also recognize the hard work they do to keep our aircraft flying every single day,” said Col. Grant Izzi, 22nd MXG commander. “I couldn’t be more proud of what the maintenance teams accomplish every day, both here and abroad.”