Jim Webb, former Senator from Virginia, has been a combat Marine, a counsel in the Congress, an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a film-maker, and the author of nine books.
Webb is descended principally from the Scots-Irish settlers who came to this country from Northern Ireland in the 18th century and became pioneers in the Virginia mountains.
Both sides of Webb's family have a strong citizen-soldier military tradition that predates the Revolutionary War. Webb's father was a career Air Force officer who flew B-17s and B-29s during World War Two, cargo planes during the Berlin Airlift, and was a pioneer in the United States missile program.
While in the Senate, Webb was selected to deliver the response to the President's State of the Union address in 2007, and served on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Joint Economic Committees. He wrote, introduced, and guided to passage the Post-9.11 GI Bill, the most significant veterans' legislation since World War II, and co-authored legislation which exposed 60 billion dollars of waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan wartime-support contracts.
A long-time advocate of fixing America's broken criminal justice system, Webb was spotlighted in The Atlantic as one of the world's "Brave Thinkers" for tackling prison reform and possessing "two things vanishingly rare in Congress: a conscience and a spine."
Having widely traveled in Asia for decades, as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee's Asia Pacific Subcommittee Webb was a leading voice in calling for the United States to re-engage in East Asia, meeting frequently with key national leaders throughout the region. In 2009, he led an historic visit to Burma, becoming the first American leader to visit that country in ten years, and opening up the dialogue that resulted in the re-establishment of relations between the two countries.
Webb graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, receiving a special commendation for his leadership contributions. First in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officer's Basic School, he served as a rifle platoon and company commander in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts. He graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1975.
Webb served in Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs from 1977 to 1981. In 1982 he led the fight to include an African American soldier in the Vietnam Veterans memorial on the National Mall. In 1984 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and in 1987 became Secretary of the Navy.
He was a Fall 1992 Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics.
In addition to his public service, Webb has enjoyed a varied career as a writer. He taught literature at the Naval Academy. Traveling widely as a journalist, he received an Emmy Award for his PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983, and in 2004 was embedded with the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
A screenwriter and producer, his original story "Rules of Engagement" held the top slot in U.S. box offices for two weeks in April 2000. Webb has written nine books, including Born Fighting, a sweeping history of the Scots Irish culture, and Fields of Fire, widely recognized as the classic novel of the Vietnam War.
Webb has six children and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Hong Le Webb. He speaks Vietnamese and has done extensive pro bono work with the Vietnamese community dating from the late 1970s.
This biography was last updated on 12/18/2013.
A note about the biographies
We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate. However, with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, please send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.
Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!
Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only
The Angel of Losses
"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.
Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.