Jim Webb grew up on the move, attending more than a dozen different schools across the U.S. and in England. First attending the University of Southern California on an NROTC academic scholarship, he left for the Naval Academy after one year. Graduating in 1968 he chose a commission in the Marine Corps, and was one of 18 in his class of 841 to receive the Superintendent's Commendation for outstanding leadership contributions while a midshipman. First in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officer's Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, he then served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam, where as a rifle platoon and company commander in the infamous An Hoa Basin west of Danang he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts.
Mr. Webb has written six best-selling novels: Fields of Fire (1978), considered by many to be the classic novel of the Vietnam war, A Sense of Honor (1981), A Country Such As This (1983), Something To Die For (1991), The Emperor's General (1999) and Lost Soldiers (2001). He taught literature at the Naval Academy as their first visiting writer, has traveled worldwide as a journalist, and his PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut earned him an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
In government, Mr. Webb served in the U.S. Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs from 1977 to 1981, becoming the first Vietnam veteran to serve as a full committee counsel in the Congress. During the Reagan Administration he was the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs from 1984 to 1987, where he directed considerable research and analysis of the U.S. military's mobilization capabilities and spent much time with our NATO allies. In 1987 he became the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Webb is currently the Senior U.S. Senator from Virginia, and during his first term in office his legislative priorities have been guided by three themes: reorienting America's national security posture, promoting economic fairness, and increasing government accountability.