Secretary of the Navy
James H. WebbClass of 1968
- Secretary of the Navy, 1987-1988
- Senator - Virginia, 2007
The Honorable James H. Webb Jr., 66th Secretary of the Navy and former U.S. Senator from Virginia, graduated USNA in 1968. After graduating first in his class from The Basic School, Webb deployed to Vietnam to serve as rifle platoon and company commander of Delta Company, First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment during a period when the number of U.S. personnel killed in action averaged more than 400 per week. Actions there earned Webb the Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism," as well as two Purple Hearts for wounds which ended his active duty career by 1972.
After graduating from the Georgetown University Law Center, Webb embarked on a career in government distinguished by its focus on veterans' affairs and armed forces modernization and strength. He served as Minority Counsel for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Secretary of the Navy and U.S. Senator from Virginia. As Senator, Webb drafted, introduced and built bipartisan support in both the House and Senate to pass the "post-9/11 GI Bill" signed into law in 2008.
A novelist and widely published national security expert, Webb has returned to the Naval Academy to deliver the Forrestal Lecture as well as remarks on leadership and the Honor Concept to the Class of 2018, with which he has connected through the Alumni Association's Another Link in the Chain program. A fellow of the Harvard University Institute of Politics, Webb has received more than 20 national awards for his public service, as well as Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal, the University of Virginia's highest external honor; the American Legion Public Service Award; and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Patriot Award.