Posted by Wordsmith on 15 October, 2015 at 10:25 pm. 5 comments already!


If you watched the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night, you probably heard the closing comment by my father, Jim Webb. Without hesitation he answered that the enemy he was ‘most proud of’ was the Vietnamese soldier who wounded him with a hand grenade. He then added that “…he isn’t around anymore.”

While there were those in the media and around the country who were a bit stunned, and perhaps even put off by this answer, my fellow veterans and I were not. If anything, his blunt (and perhaps a bit brutal) honesty was much appreciated, and further endeared him to us as a candidate. We veterans are also more likely to have a fuller picture of my father’s record. He’s the man who gave us the post-9/11 GI Bill. We also know him as a highly decorated combat veteran who earned the Navy Cross for the entire episode surrounding that grenade, not just the snippet that has been focused on.

As a Marine infantryman myself, I have experienced the complex emotions of combat. On the one hand you may not even see the face of an individual who fires a round so close to your head that your ears ring, or blows up the improvised explosive device next to your vehicle that potentially kills or maims your friends. On the other, there’s an intensely personal reaction. After all, this isn’t a person who is besting you in a debate about gun control, or some other social policy, over a beer. This is a person whose intent is to end your life, and that is as clear cut an enemy as you can think of. Additionally, many, if not most, of the veterans I have talked to have read the Navy Cross citation that chronicles the incident surrounding my father. For those unfamiliar, it states:

Read more in the WaPo op-ed

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x