The Honorable James Webb

Former Senator, Virginia

The Honorable James H. Webb, Jr., has been a combat Marine, full committee counsel in Congress, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Senator from Virginia, Emmy-award winning journalist, filmmaker and is the author of 10 books. Webb graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, one of 18 midshipmen to receive a special commendation for “outstanding leadership contributions.” He was the Honor Graduate in his class of 243 Marine lieutenants at Marine Corps Officer's Basic School. One of the most highly decorated Marines in the Vietnam War, he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals with combat “V” and two Purple Hearts. Webb graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1975. He was the first Vietnam veteran to serve as a full committee counsel in the U.S. Congress, serving from 1977 to 1981 as minority counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. In 1982, he led the fight to include an African-American soldier in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In 1984 Webb became the first-ever Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and then in 1987 the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy. In 1992 he was a Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. Elected to the Senate in 2006, Webb served on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, and Joint Economic committees, including four years as Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel and of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He wrote, introduced and guided to passage the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the most significant veterans legislation since World War II. The Atlantic Magazine spotlighted him as one of the world’s “Brave Thinkers” for tackling prison reform. He also co-authored legislation which exposed $60 billion of waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan wartime-support contracts. Having widely traveled in Asia for decades as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Asia-Pacific Subcommittee, Webb was a leading voice in calling for the U.S. to re-engage in East Asia. In 2009, he led a historic visit to Burma, becoming the first American leader to visit in 10 years and opening a dialogue that resulted in the reestablishment of relations between our two countries. He speaks Vietnamese and has maintained strong relations with the American Vietnamese community, including decades of pro bono work. He has maintained continuous relations in Thailand for more than thirty years, in and out of government, and has maintained similar relations in Japan. In addition to his public service, Webb has had a varied career as a writer. Traveling widely as a journalist, with multiple assignments in Japan, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, Webb was the first American journalist allowed access to report from inside the Japanese prison system. Webb is the author of ten books, including six best-selling novels, notably “Fields of Fire,” widely recognized as the classic novel of the Vietnam War. Webb has received more than 30 national awards for community service, including the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Each year, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation presents The James Webb Award for distinguished fiction dealing with U.S. Marines or Marine Corps life. Webb has six children and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Hong Le Webb, who was born in Vietnam and is a graduate of Cornell Law School. @