On 10 July 1969, on a company-sized search-and-destroy mission deep in hostile territory, his platoon came upon a well-camouflaged bunker complex. Although there were no apparent signs of life, Webb deployed his men into defensive positions before approaching the bunkers. As he neared the first one, three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades leaped out. Without hesitation Webb grabbed the closest soldier and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol, captured all three.
Undaunted by this revelation of enemy presence, Lieutenant Webb then proceeded to the next bunker, accompanied by one of his men. Calling for the enemy in that bunker to surrender, he was answered by a live grenade tossed from within. Although it detonated dangerously close, Webb and the other Marine were not injured. He then detonated a claymore mine into the bunker entrance, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel. Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of additional enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, Webb then conducted a thorough search that 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. Seeing it land dangerously close to his companion, Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the other 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 bunker's entrance and completely destroyed it.
Jim Webb's dreams of someday wearing a general's stars ended when his wounds proved career-ending, but he had clearly met the standard of those Marines who had preceded him. For his actions that day, Jim Webb was awarded the Navy Cross and a Purple Heart . . . which he added to his Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and his other Purple Heart.