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Asked to Name the Enemy He's 'Most Proud of,' Democrat Jim Webb Said the 'Soldier Who Threw the Grenade That Wounded Me.' Here's the Backstory.


Webb "shielded [the Marine] from the explosion with his own body."

Democratic presidential candidate former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb listens during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

While the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates listed off Republicans, the National Rifle Association and Wall Street as the enemies "they're most proud of," former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb turned the tables with a different kind of response.

"I'd have to say the enemy soldier that threw their grenade that wounded me," Webb said during Tuesday night's debate. "But he's not around right now to talk to."

Webb is a decorated Vietnam veteran who also served as the U.S. secretary of the Navy for a year under former President Ronald Reagan. According to the Military Times, Webb received the Silver Star as well as the Navy Cross — the latter of which was awarded to him most likely after the situation he was referring to during the debate.

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb listens on stage during the CNN Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Here is from Webb's official Navy Cross citation:

On 10 July 1969, while participating in a company-sized search and destroy operation deep in hostile territory, First Lieutenant Webb's platoon discovered a well-camouflaged bunker complex which appeared to be unoccupied. Deploying his men into defensive positions, First Lieutenant Webb was advancing to the first bunker when three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades jumped out. Reacting instantly, he grabbed the closest man and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol at the others, apprehended all three of the soldiers. Accompanied by one of his men, he then approached the second bunker and called for the enemy to surrender. When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade which detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel. Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search which yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data. Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker. By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Rolling Stone also detailed the account of that day in 1969 and said Webb "shot the Viet Cong who threw" the grenade at the third bunker.

"In his mind, it was the compression of his past into a moment of perfect, unthinking violence, redeeming all the history that had put him opposite a stranger and a grenade on the opposite side of the world," Rolling Stone wrote.

The Washington Post reported that while some took Webb's comments to mean that he killed the man who threw the grenade at him, it doesn't appear that Webb has ever clearly made that claim himself.

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb was the recipient of the Navy Cross, the second-highest military decoration for valor. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his service during the Vietnam War. (Image via Twitter @TheFix)

Because of the injuries sustained during the Vietnam War, Webb eventually returned to civilian life.

The former senator was listed as a "loser" of the debate by CNN.

"And as the debate wore on, Webb seemed more pressed squabbling with debate moderator Anderson Cooper over the amount of time allotted to the different candidates than in making an impression that would win over voters," CNN reported.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the winner of Tuesday's debate, according to CNN, as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' performance was "unclear." Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee were also "losers" of the debate, along with Vice President Joe Biden who hasn't announced whether or not he'll run for president yet.

Watch the five Democratic presidential candidates name their enemies below.

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