On the Passing of Senator James M. Inhofe

July 10, 2024

Yesterday, our nation lost a great patriot and a true friend of America’s Air and Space Forces: Senator James M. Inhofe.  

It was less than two years ago that the Air & Space Forces Association was deeply honored to present to him our highest civilian award: the W. Stuart Symington Award. Named after the first Secretary of the Air Force, it has been presented to two presidents. No person deserved this award more. 

Since Senator Inhofe was first elected to the Senate in 1994, not an hour went by in which the Senator did not think of how to better the capabilities of our Air and Space Forces. And when he was not thinking about that, his mind turned to determining the best ways to lessen the heavy burden of service for our Airmen, Guardians, their Families, and veterans. “How are the military families doing?” was often the question he put to our nation’s most senior leaders.  

Senator Inhofe’s entire career was dedicated to a simple principle: making a difference. Because of his decades of selfless sacrifice our Air and Space Forces have better aircraft and space systems. Our Airmen, Guardians, their Families, and veterans have better lives. Simply put, our country is stronger because of Senator Inhofe.  

It has often been remarked from the most senior levels of the Department of the Air Force down to the newest recruit, that when the chips were down and the Department was on the ropes, it was Senator Inhofe who saved the day.  

His commitment to service was not just directed to our national security, it was also focused on helping others. No greater example of this was his assistance to the people of Africa. In fact, Senator Inhofe was on a first name basis with many of the most senior leaders of that continent. Using the full influence of his office, Senator Inhofe ensured that those who spread violence and destruction on that continent were confronted and faced the full weight of the United States.  

But ensuring peace and justice was just one part of his quest to better the lives of the people of Africa. We cannot count the number of development programs he supported, especially the construction of dams and other electrification projects.

To know Senator Inhofe was to know that he was a family man. No one loved his wife more and, despite all his hard work, his first thoughts were always of his wife Kay, his children, and 12 grandchildren. We know that we are joined by all 118,000 AFA members in saying we are grateful for Senator Inhofe and thankful for his service.

Bernie Skoch
Chair of the Board

Lt. Gen. Burt Field, USAF (Ret.)
President & CEO