Dec 27, 2012
by Bill Bartel
Webb's most praised Senate achievement was a new GI Bill that passed Congress 18 months after he took office. The legislation dramatically improved education and related benefits for veterans. To date, more than 800,000 former service members have used the benefits.
Jim Webb may be walking away after a single term in the U.S. Senate, but that doesn't mean he's exiting public life for good.
And the 66-year-old is not going into retirement.
"I will be working. Trust me," he said in a recent interview in the wood-paneled conference room of his Capitol Hill office.
"My situation is different than most people up here. I didn't come out of a law firm. There isn't a structure that I can easily go back into. But it's a very healthy thing, at least from the way my career has played itself out, to step out every now and then and just think about things."
The victory was the latest chapter in a career that began in 1969 in the Marines. As a lieutenant, Webb served in Vietnam, earning the Navy Cross, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.Born Fighting
He worked on the staff of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs after law school, and he served during the Reagan administration as an undersecretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy.
His books, both fiction and nonfiction, include the critically acclaimed novel "Fields of Fire," which is based on his wartime experiences. He's also won an Emmy as a documentary filmmaker.
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