Profile of Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia:

James H. "Jim" Webb, Jr was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2006 in a narrow, surprise victory over incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen.

On February 9, 2011, Sen. Webb announced that he would not be running for reelection in 2012.

Before election to the Senate, Webb, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, was the former Secretary of Navy under President Ronald Reagan.

Webb is also the author of 8 books, including 6 Vietnam-based novels, and an award-winning filmmaker.

Recent Notability:

Sen. Webb was chosen to deliver the Democrat Party's January 24, 2007, response to the President's State of the Union address. On NBC's Meet the Press on July 15, 2007, Webb courageously stood up to Bush administration's Iraq War policies.

On November 28, 2006, Webb and George Bush verbally sparred at a White House reception after Webb, an opponent of the Iraq War, refused to discuss his son, a solider in Iraq, after the President aggressively pressed him.

Senate Committes in 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

  • Armed Forces Committee
  • Armed Forces Subcommittee on Airland
  • Armed Forces Subcommittee on Personnel
  • Armed Forces Subcommittee on Seapower
  • Foreign Relations Committee
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian & Pacific Affairs
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps & Narcotics Affairs
  • Veterans' Affairs Committee
  • Joint Economic Committee

Prior to the Senate:

1977-81 - Legal counsel, House Committee on Veteran Affairs

1975-81 - Provided pro bono legal representation for veterans, including a soldier convicted of war crimes who Webb represented for 3 years after the soldier's suicide, to clear the veteran's name.

1984-87 - Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs

1987-88 - Secretary of the Navy, until he resigned rather than reduce the Navy force structure

1988-2006 - Webb worked primarily as a professional writer and filmmaker. By 1988, he'd already authored 3 successful Vietnam-based novels, and won an Emmy for his 1983 coverage of U.S. Marines in Beirut.

Jim Webb, U.S. Marine Corps War Hero:

First in his class at Marine Corps Officer's Basic School after 1968 graduation from the Naval Academy, Webb served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam as a rifle platoon and company commander.

For extraordinary heroism in Vietnam, Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, 2 Bronze Star Medals and 2 Purple Hearts. Before leaving the service in 1972, Webb also taught tactics and weapons at Officer Candidate School, and served on the Secretary of Navy's staff.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - February 9, 1946 in Saint Joseph, Missouri, to James Sr., a Scotch-Irish career Air Force officer and his wife, Vera.
  • Education - 1 year, University of Southern California. U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, 1964-68. J.D., 1975, Georgetown Law School.
  • Family - Married to Hong Le Webb. Divorced twice. 5 children, including a daughter born in December 2006 and 4 children from previous marriages. 3 grandchildren by his oldest child, Amy Webb Hogan. 1 stepdaughter with his wife.
  • Faith - Christian
Webb was a varsity wrestler at the Naval Academy, and a member of Delta Chi fraternity at USC.

The Webb Family:

Hong Le Webb, the senator's wife, is am accomplished securities and corporate law attorney in Washington D.C. She was born in Vietnam, which her family fled after the fall of Saigon in 1975. About 20 years younger than her husband, Hong Le was raised in New Orleans.

Webb's father flew B-17s and B-29s during World War II, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetary. Son Jimmy Webb is an enlisted infantry U.S. Marine whose unit shipped out to Iraq in September 2006.

Books Authored by Jim Webb:

  • "Fields of Fire" (1978)
  • "A Sense of Honor" (1981)
  • "A Country Such As This" (1983)
  • "Something To Die For" (1991)
  • "The Emperor's General" (1999)
  • "Lost Soldiers" (2001) Compare Prices
  • "Born fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America" (2004)

Memorable Quotes on the Iraq War:

On Privatizing Fighting in the Iraq War

"When we say we have 135,000 American military people in Iraq right now, if you take a look at how much of the support, combat service support, private security functions are being done by these so-called "civilians" - they're quasi-military units - you would probably have to say that in reality we have the equivalent of 200,000 American military people in Iraq.

One of the reasons that this is being done is because there are in-strength limitations on the services. In other words, you can't go over in the Congress and fund more than a certain number of people in the Army, in the Marine Corps...

This is not healthy, first of all because the country doesn't understand the enormity of the commitment, second of all because it's extremely costly.

I'll give you one example. You can take a recon marine, a marine who's in a reconnaissance battalion, who probably makes at the most $20,000 a year, and they've been able to walk out of that and go over and make $180,000 a year in some cases working for these contractors. Well that's still being paid by the American taxpayer in the end.

And then the third reason that it's not a good policy is that there really are no legal controls on these people. When these people shoot a civilian in Iraq or conduct themselves in a way where they should be subjected to criminal sanctions or disciplinary action, who does it? I've asked people involved if civilian contractors have ever been disciplined, and I'm still looking for an example as to when they have."

--- March 22, 2006 Interview with MyDD liberal community blog

On Early Objections to the Iraq War

"I was an early voice saying we shouldn't go in, that it was not connected to the war against international terrorism, that it was not among the highest national security concerns that we should be considering. My warning before we went in was basically that it was a strategic mousetrap on three different levels: One is that it would involve the nation's focus and attention and resources beyond military resources to the detriment of other interests.

Second was that if you're going to decapitate a government, you would be draining your force structure.

And thirdly, in the sense that we have focused so strongly on the Sunnis while the Shiites have been in a win-win since day one, and as a result we're empowering Iran. "

--- October 30, 2005 Inteview with The San Diego Union-Tribune