Richard Brenard Webb was born in Ames, Iowa, the second son of William and Marie Webb. At age seven, he contracted polio, recovering with only a curl in his feet. In 1950, the Webbs moved to Pocatello, Idaho. Dick's happiest memories of growing up were playing quarterback for three years on the Pocatello High School football team and spending summers on his grandmother's farm in Iowa.
At West Point, according to company mate Palmer McGrew, Dick "quickly impressed us with his toughness and the ease with which he mastered the system. His wit kept everyone on their toes. With Dick's help, I-2 became dominant power in intramural athletics winning the Banker's Trophy twice." Dick became I-2 company commander. High school friend and West Point roommate, John Dykes, wrote, "the cadet company commanders were natural leaders. Dick showed the rest of us how we could be much better than we were. In combat, sometimes you were on your own, and in those perilous times, Dick's shadow was beside me."
In June 1956, Dick's class went to Ft. Benning, GA, for two weeks of training. There, Dick reluctantly agreed to a blind date with a Columbus girl, Audrey Johnson. Both claimed it was love at first sight. When Audrey recited the story of Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby to Dick on that first date, he thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to have her read stories to our children?" On 12 July 1958, shortly after graduation, they were married in Columbus, GA.
Following Airborne School, Dick was assigned to the 24th Signal Battalion in Augsburg, Germany, where Dick and Audrey began their career-long attendance of Officers Christian Fellowship Bible studies. Their first son, Andy, was born there. In 1962, while Dick was attending the Advanced Signal School, David was born. Brian followed two years later.
In 1965, Dick transferred to Military Intelligence. He served two tours in Viet Nam and several tours in Washington, DC, leading to battalion command and then chief of staff at the Intelligence Center at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. From 1980 to 1982, he served as Deputy J-2 for Eighth Army in Korea, and Palmer McGrew wrote of this assignment: "Soon after I retired I worked on a project dealing with the defense of Korea. An intelligence program, unique to Korea, based on computers instead of shoeboxes, turned out to be Dick's initiative."
Dick declined brigade command and enthusiastically dedicated his last five active duty years to the Joint Tactical Fusion Program, overseeing the design of automated battlefield intelligence systems. Palmer notes, "Dick sacrificed any advancement beyond colonel to serve as deputy project manager to ensure that his dream was realized."
1988 was a transitional year for the Webbs. Andy graduated from Harvard Business School; Brian graduated from Virginia Tech; David was an Air Force pilot; and Dick "graduated" after thirty years, from the Army. After retirement, Dick did counseling on an unpaid basis and worked with Audrey as a real estate broker.
In 1991, Audrey's mother was murdered by a yardman in her home in Atlanta. Despite his confession and overwhelming evidence, the murderer was acquitted. "Throughout the nightmare of this loss and miscarriage of justice, Dick was an absolute tower of strength for me," said Audrey. "Dick turned his energies to helping crime victims and advancing legislation to support their rights. My family loved Dick. He brought reconciliation by settling my grandmother's estate-a source of contention for 35 years!"
Fortunately, there were also many joys in those retirement years-finally acquiring girls in the family (daughers-in-law and precious granddaughters) and time spent at his beloved Idaho log cabin. As a charter member of the International Fellowship of Immanuel Bible Church, Dick assisted refugees. He also organized Immanuel's Men's Ministry, which he promoted up to the day he died suddenly of a heart attack.
His son, Andy said, "My father was very goal-directed, but when someone became an obstacle between him and his goal, he would suppress his natural inclinations to brush by them and instead reach out in love." Son David said, "In Virginia, my father started a soccer league for Brian, at Ft. Huachuca, he started a wrestling program for us. At Carlisle, he drove me all across Pennsylvania for wrestling tournaments. He gave me what every child needs from a father-to know that you are the most important person in the world to him."
Younger son Brian recalled, "I knew he loved my brothers and me equally, never comparing us. When I was in college, I became discouraged. My father made a special trip just to be there for support. My father was committed to Jesus Christ, loved his children, adored my mother, and sacrificed his time and resources to build up and encourage others. The words that keep coming to my mind are 'go and do likewise.'"
According to friend, Dick Tredinnick, "Dick was always available with timely advice and real tangible help. When my three sons needed help-spiritually, emotionally, financially-Dick invested massive amounts of time in their lives. Dick had a passion for life. He believed in and encouraged people, investing in their lives."
Classmate and CO Alan Salisbury wrote, "When I think of Dick, I think...Joy! Pun contests often got out of control." Close friend and CO Bill Harmon said, "Playing a joke on a friend was often an obsession of Dick's...Dick wasn't a soldier; he was a soldier with a keen moral compass that had a true-integrity needle always pointed toward 'Duty, Honor, Country'. In times of stress, when others cracked, he was always faithful to his wife, family, friends, country and God."
Dick earned two master's degrees from Stanford University and graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College and the Army War College. Dick's military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and three Army Commendation Medals.
Dick is greatly missed for his unique and unfailing sense of humor, his positive "can-do" approach to life, devotion to duty, unquestioned integrity, his concern for others, love for his family, and his love of his Lord, and his delight and enthusiasm in serving Him.
His loving wife, Audrey, with help from classmates Palmer McGrew and Jack Downing.