Veteran newsman Al Webb dies at 79, honoured for bravery
Veteran newsman Al Webb has died in England after a long career in which he received a military medal for valor while covering the war in Vietnam. He was 79.
London: Veteran newsman Al Webb has died in England after a long career in which he received a military medal for valor while covering the war in Vietnam. He was 79.
His wife Elizabeth Webb said today that he died Jan. 25 at a hospital in Banbury, 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of London from complications from pneumonia and diabetes.
He spent most of his career covering the world for United Press International and received the Bronze Star for his role in helping to evacuate a gravely wounded U.S. Marine at the height of the Vietnam War.
Webb was seriously wounded by shrapnel from a rocket explosion during an attempted evacuation during the Tet Offensive on Feb. 19, 1968. The Marine, who suffered a gunshot wound to the throat, did not survive.
Looking back two decades after the war, he wrote: "It is noise you remember — the sharp 'thwack' of a sniper's bullets inches from your head, the eerie keening of a Marine dying of the wound that had blown away a third of his skull, the evil whoosh of a rocket seeking more death."
Webb and two other journalists who had tried to save the Marine were honored years later. Webb's citation read: "By his bold initiative and courage, Webb earned the respect, admiration and gratitude of all Marines."
"He loved his work, he loved writing, and when he did retire he missed it very much," his wife Elizabeth said Tuesday. "I think he liked the excitement of it. And he liked to report accurately and in a neutral kind of way."
Webb was born in South Carolina and covered many major stories, including the civil rights movement in the United States and the early NASA space missions.
He moved to London to work as an editor for the wire service in 1969 and settled in Britain. He met Elizabeth in Britain and they married in 1994. He is survived by his wife.