Name at birth: James Henry Webb, Jr.
Navy veteran Jim Webb is a former United States senator from Virginia and a Democrat running in the presidential election of 2016. He grew up in a military family and is a 1968 Naval Academy graduate and Vietnam veteran. Commanding a Marine platoon in Vietnam, Webb was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. His shrapnel injuries meant a medical retirement, so Webb went to law school at Georgetown University and graduated in 1975. Early in his career, he worked as legal counsel for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs (1977-81), which led to his first posting in President Ronald Reagan's administration, as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (1984-87). Webb was named Reagan's Secretary of the Navy in 1987, and he set about re-shaping the Marine Corps and trying to beef up the Navy; he resigned in 1988, opposed to the president's budget cuts. Along the way, Webb was writing books, some informed by his Vietnam experience and some just plain spicy adventure novels. He was narrowly elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, and right away made a name for himself as a sometimes bitter opponent of President George W. Bush over the U.S. military invasion of Iraq (Webb's son was serving in Iraq when Webb was elected). While in the Senate, Webb worked mostly on behalf of veterans and wrote a political manifesto, 2008's A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America. He announced his candidacy for the presidency in June of 2015. Webb's books include the novels Fields of Fire (1978), A Sense of Honor (1981) and The Emperor's Generals (1999), and the non-fiction books Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America (2004) and I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir (2015).
Jim Webb wrote the story for the 2000 movie Rules of Engagement? He won an Emmy for a special TV report he did from Beirut in 1983.
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