Jim Webb Biography

(Former United States Secretary of the Navy)

Birthday: February 9, 1946 (Aquarius)

Born In: Saint Joseph, Missouri, United States

American author, politician, and former Marine Jim Webb was the US Senator from Virginia from 2007 to 2013. He is a qualified lawyer and initially served the US Marines in the Vietnam War. He has also been the 1st Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and the 66th US Secretary of the Navy. A Republican before 2006, he later switched to the Democratic Party. As a senator, he has worked on areas such as criminal justice, veterans’ rights, and foreign relations. He has penned several bestselling novels and a few non-fiction books, too, including one on cultural history. He has written film scripts and several articles, too. His coverage of the US Marines in Beirut won him an Emmy. The father of six has been divorced twice and now lives in Northern Virginian with his lawyer wife, Hong Le Webb.

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Quick Facts

Also Known As: James Henry Webb Jr.

Age: 78 Years, 78 Year Old Males

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Hong Le Webb (m. 2005), Barbara Samorajczyk (m. 1968–1979), Jo Ann Krukar (m. 1981–2004)

father: James Henry Webb

mother: Vera Lorraine (Hodges)

children: Amy Webb Hogan, Georgia LeAnh Webb, Jimmy Webb, Julia Webb, Sarah Webb

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Men

U.S. State: Missouri

More Facts

education: Georgetown University, University Of Southern California, United States Naval Academy

Childhood, Early Life & Education

Jim Webb was born James Henry Webb Jr., on February 9, 1946 in Saint Joseph, Missouri, US, to James Henry Webb and Vera Lorraine (Hodges). His father was career officer in the US Air Force, and his military life led to Webb growing up in various places and studying in over a dozen schools in the US and in England.

Webb has Scots-Irish roots. He was his parents’ second child and had three siblings, two sisters and a younger brother. The family lived in places such as Missouri, Illinois, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Virginia, and California.

He graduated from a Bellevue, Nebraska, high school and then, from 1963 to 1964, attended the University of Southern California on a Navy Reserve Officer scholarship. In 1964, Webb joined the US Naval Academy of Annapolis, Maryland. There, he was part of the Brigade Honor Committee. He won a varsity letter for boxing, too.

In 1968, he graduated from the academy and was awarded the Superintendent's Letter for Outstanding Leadership. He retired from the Marine Corps on medical grounds and then joined the Georgetown University law school in 1972. At Georgetown, he was awarded for his talent in legal writing. He eventually obtained a Juris Doctor in 1975.

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Military Service

Following his graduation from Annapolis, Jim Webb served as a Marine in Vietnam. He was initially named Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was then promoted to First Lieutenant during the Vietnam War.

In Vietnam, he served as the platoon commander of the Delta Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines. His combat heroism earned him the second-highest award in the Navy and Marine Corps, the Navy Cross. He was also bestowed with the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.

After sustaining shrapnel injuries, he retired from the military. He then moved back to the US and became a military instructor at the Officer Candidates School of the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.

Post-Military Career & Politics

After his medical retirement from the military, Jim Webb obtained his JD from the Georgetown Law Center. In 1975, he released his first book.

From 1977 to 1981, he served on the staff of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. Webb also worked as an instructor at the Naval Academy.

During Ronald Reagan’s administration, he was named the US’s 1st Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and served in the position from May 1984 to April 1987. In his capacity, he tried to restructure the Marine Corps. He was especially concerned about the aftermath of the Vietnam War and its impact on the Marines, who had resorted to drug abuse and racism.

In May 1987, Webb was named the 66th United States Secretary of the Navy. He thus also scripted history as the first Naval Academy graduate to be the civilian head of the Navy. In 1988, however, he resigned due to disagreements over reducing the size of the Navy.

Following this, Webb became known as an author and a filmmaker. His journalism in the 1983 PBS report on the US Marines stationed in Beirut earned him an Emmy Award.

As a US Senator

In 2006, Jim Webb, who was a Republican earlier, turned into a Democrat and won the Virginia Senate general election by defeating Republican incumbent George Allen by a slim margin. On November 15, 2006, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader in waiting, named Webb to the Senate committees on Foreign Relations, Veterans' Affairs, and Armed Services.

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On January 3, 2007, Webb assumed office as the US Senator from Virginia and continued in the position till January 3, 2013. As a senator, he introduced the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, for increasing benefits for veterans. On January 23, 2007, he delivered the Democratic response to the President's State of the Union address and got positive reviews for his speech that focused on the Iraq and the economy.

In March 2007, Webb introduced the S. 759, to counter the use of monetary resources for army operations in Iran without seeking prior approval of Congress. The same month, an aide of Webb was arrested for trying to enter the Russell Senate Office Building with Webb's loaded pistol. Webb, however, defended his aide, citing gun-owners' rights.

In March 2009, he brought in the Criminal Justice Commission Act. In 2008, rumors suggested Webb might be a possible Vice-Presidential nominee for Barack Obama. However, in July that year, Webb ended all such speculations with a statement. He opted out of re-election in 2012, saying he wished to return to the private sector.

As an Author

A celebrated author, Jim Webb has penned ten books, including fiction and non-fiction. His works include bestselling novels such as Fields of Fire (1978), A Sense of Honor (1981), A Country Such as This (1983), Something to Die for (1992), The Emperor's General (1999), and Lost Soldiers (2002). Fields of Fire, which was lauded by critics, drew from his own experience and told the tale of a US Marine platoon in Vietnam.

He also penned the cultural history Born Fighting (2004, which investigated the role of people with Scots-Irish origins in American history and culture. His A Time to Fight (2008) largely draws from his personal experiences, while I Heard My Country Calling (2015) is more of a memoir.

Webb also wrote and executive produced the 2000 movie Rules of Engagement, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Warner Brothers acquired his script for Whiskey River, a movie about an American soldier in Iraq. Webb has also penned several articles in journals and newspapers such as the Marine Corps Gazette, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Personal Life

Jim Webb married Barbara Samorajczyk on June 7, 1968. She was a lawyer who worked for several real-estate and development companies in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. She has also been part of the Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Council.

The couple have a daughter, Amy. In 1979, when Amy was 8, Webb and his wife divorced. They have three grandchildren. 

On April 11, 1981, Webb married Jo Ann Krukar, who was an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs and a health-care lobbyist. They divorced in 2004.

However, Jo Ann assisted in Webb’s 2006 Senate campaign. They are also parents to three children: Sarah, Jimmy, and Julia. Jimmy fought for the US Marine Corps in Iraq.

In October 2005, Webb married Vietnamese-American corporate lawyer Hong Le Webb. Hong Le is a Cornell Law School alumna. They met in 1994 and began dating in 2002, after both were separated from their respective spouses.

The couple have a daughter named Georgia LeAnh, born in December 2006. Hong Le has a daughter from a previous marriage, too. Webb and Hong Le now live in Northern Virginia.

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