Vietnam Medal of Honor Marine Dies After Decade-Long Battle With Cancer


Medal of Honor recipient retired Marine Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley died Wednesday after a decade-long battle with most cancers, in accordance with the Marine Corps.

Born Dec. 20, 1937, in Caledonia, Arkansas, Canley was 84 years previous. He had enlisted within the Corps in 1953 and retired as a sergeant main in 1981, with three deployments to Vietnam.

He died in Bend, Oregon, together with his household at his aspect, the Corps stated Thursday in a press launch.

Canley obtained the Medal of Honor in October 2018 from then-President Donald Trump, after a separate decade’s lengthy battle: one with the Pentagon’s crimson tape to approve his award.

Canley initially was awarded the Navy Cross for 1968 actions at Hue Metropolis, Vietnam, Marine Corps Occasions beforehand reported. In 2005, there was a push to have his medal upgraded ― and for 13 years the Marines main the trouble have been hit with setbacks and bureaucratic delays till he lastly obtained his recognition, 50 years after his bloody road battles in Vietnam.

In 1968 in Hue Metropolis, Vietnam, Canley had been serving as firm gunnery sergeant for Alpha Firm, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Canley and his Marines “fought off a number of assaults” whereas patrolling the streets and relieving one other Marine firm.

Throughout these bloody firefights, Canley “repeatedly rushed throughout gunfire-swept terrain” and carried wounded Marines to security, in accordance with his award quotation.

After the corporate commander was severely wounded throughout what later turned often called the Tet Offensive, Canley took command for 3 days.

“Beneath his management, Alpha Firm Marines destroyed fortified enemy positions all through town as Sgt. Maj. Canley continued to hold wounded Marines to security,” his award quotation says.

Then-Gunny John Canley initially was awarded the Navy Cross whereas serving as an organization commander on the outset of the notorious Tet Offensive in 1968. (Courtesy of the workplace of Julia Brownley)

On Feb. 4, 1968, in an effort to attract the enemy out and find its place, “Canley moved to an open space, receiving machinegun hearth” whereas his Marines destroyed the menace and fully took over the occupied constructing from the enemy.

Simply two day later in a hospital compound firefight, Canley “twice scaled a wall in full view of the enemy to hold wounded Marines to security.”

John Ligato, a former Marine personal first-class who had served below Canley, beforehand informed Marine Corps Occasions, “We’d all be useless if it wasn’t for the gunny.”

Canley shall be buried at a later date at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery in Virginia with full army honors, the Marine Corps stated.

Along with the Medal of Honor, his awards included the Bronze Star with Fight “V,” the Purple Coronary heart, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Fight “V” and the Fight Motion Ribbon.

Sergeant Main of the Marine Corps Troy Black stated an announcement, ”The actions within the face of hazard Sgt. Maj. Canley took are unbelievable and memorable.“

“Sgt. Maj. Canley was a frontrunner and a warfighter who undoubtedly contributed to the battles received in Vietnam. His first precedence was and has at all times been his Marines ― a real instance of Semper Fidelis.”

His legacy will reside on with the 90,000-ton expeditionary sea base John L. Canley (ESB-6), which is getting ready for its christening in San Diego on June 25, the Corps stated. It is going to be forward-deployed to the Western Pacific.

Sixty-four Medal of Honor recipients at the moment are alive right this moment, in accordance with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.


Initially revealed on Army Occasions, our sister publication.

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