The Bonemen Are Back in Town

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Adam Olson
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D.— Members of the B-1 Bomber Association will be host their reunion at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., during Ellsworth’s air show May 14 and 15, 2022.

The Bonemen are a group comprised of former B-1 pilots, maintainers and aircrew that keeps members updated on B-1 developments, maintain contact with other members of the B-1 community and support further reunions between members.

“It is basically a way for us B-1 ‘old-timers’ to keep up with the changes in the B-1 world and stay in touch with others we worked with years ago,” said Jim Katrenak,  retired 28th Maintenance Group commander and current member of the Bonemen.

Katrenak entered the Air Force around the same time that the B-1 did, and has seen firsthand as the platform evolved and calls the job a “never ending challenge to figure out how best to employ, maintain and support the B-1.”

Members of the Bonemen like Katrenak keep members updates on the B-1 to other members as well as put together reunions and other efforts for members to stay connected.

As Ellsworth continues to grow and evolve through new innovations, Katrenak is optimistic about the base’s future with the B-21 platform and the new missions and challenges it may bring.

“I am confident that our Airmen of the 28th Bomb Wing are up to these challenges, just as we were in the past,” said Katrenak.

He still retains cherished memories such as the first eight B-1 aircraft when they deployed to Diego Garcia after the 9/11 attacks, and undergoing missions demanding two times what aircrews at the time thought they were capable of for Operation Anaconda and the Battle of Takur Ghar.

B-1 Bomber Association president Clint “Stick” Taylor is a retired lieutenant colonel who served on Ellsworth in 1987 as part of the 37th Bomb Squadron Tigers aircrew and founded the B-1 Bomber Association in 2010.

“Bonemen (Aircrew, Maintainers, Weapons, Loaders, Back-shop and support personnel) are a special breed that are extremely proud to be part of the B-1 mission and for that I am proud to be called a ‘BONEMAN’,” said Taylor. “Our association motto says it all: ‘SEMPER BONE’; meaning ‘Always B-1”.

This will be the first Bonemen reunion since the COVID-19 pandemic.