John Canley

John L. Canley (born 1 February 1938) is a retired United States Marine and recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for actions in January/February 1968 during the Battle of Huế. At the time of this action Canley was a Gunnery sergeant with Company A 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. Canley was originally awarded the Navy Cross, but this was upgraded to the Medal of Honor which was presented on 17 October 2018.[1]

John Canley
John L. Canley
Official portrait of SgtMaj Canley in October 2018
BornFebruary 1, 1938 (age 81)
Caledonia, Arkansas, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service1953—1981
RankUSMC-E9-SGM.svg Sergeant Major
Unit1st Battalion, 1st Marines
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsMedal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal ribbon with "V" device, 1st award.svg Bronze Star Medal w/V
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart

Early life

Canley was born in Caledonia, Arkansas.[2] In 1953, Canley enlisted in the United States Marine Corps from Little Rock, Arkansas and retired in 1981. He lives in Oxnard, California.[3][4]


On the morning of 31 January 1968, Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines was loaded onto trucks and sent to reinforce U.S. and South Vietnamese forces under siege in Huế. As the convoy approached the southern suburbs of the city, they began to come under increased sniper fire. In one village, the troops dismounted and cleared the houses on either side of the main street before proceeding. The Marine convoy stopped several times to eliminate resistance in heavy house-to-house and street-to-street fighting before proceeding again. During this fighting the Company commander, Captain Gordon Batchellor was wounded and Gunnery Sergeant Canley assumed command of the Company and he and Sergeant Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez led the Marines in the defense of the convoy, actions for which Gonzalez would later be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. At about 15:15 after bloody fighting the Marines managed to make their way toward the besieged Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) compound (16°27′58″N 107°35′31″E / 16.466°N 107.592°E).[5] Canley was awarded the Navy Cross. Sergeant Major Canley retired from the Marine Corps on 23 October 1981.[3]

Medal of Honor announced

Representative Julia Brownley sponsored a bill in Congress for Canley's Navy Cross to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On 21 December 2017 the House of Representatives waived the 5 year time limit for the award of the Medal of Honor and the Senate later took similar action. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (retired Marine General) recommended the upgrade to President Donald Trump who approved the award in July 2018.[1][6] On Wednesday, 17 October 2018, President Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major John L. Canley, United States Marine Corps (Retired), for conspicuous gallantry.[3]

Medal of Honor citation


The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to


The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Gunnery Sergeant John L. Canley (MCSN: 1455946), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant of Company A, First Battalion, First Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, during operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 31 January to 6 February 1968. On 31 January, when his company came under a heavy volume of enemy fire near the city of Hue, Gunnery Sergeant Canley rushed across the fire-swept terrain and carried several wounded Marines to safety. Later, with the company commander seriously wounded, Gunnery Sergeant Canley assumed command and immediately reorganized his scattered Marines, moving from one group to another to advise and encourage his men. Although sustaining shrapnel wounds during this period, he nonetheless established a base of fire which subsequently allowed the company to break through the enemy strongpoint. Retaining command of the company for the following three days, Gunnery Sergeant Canley on 4 February led his men into an enemy-occupied building in Hue. Despite fierce enemy resistance, he succeeded in gaining a position immediately above the enemy strongpoint and dropped a large satchel charge into the position, personally accounting for numerous enemy killed, and forcing the others to vacate the building. On 6 February, when his unit sustained numerous casualties while attempting to capture a government building, Gunnery Sergeant Canley lent words of encouragement to his men and exhorted them to greater efforts as they drove the enemy from its fortified emplacement. Although wounded once again during this action, on two occasions he leaped a wall in full view of the enemy, picked up casualties, and carried them to covered positions. By his dynamic leadership, courage, and selfless dedication, Gunnery Sergeant Canley contributed greatly to the accomplishment of his company's mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Awards and decorations

Medal of Honor ribbon
Bronze Star Medal ribbon
Purple Heart ribbon
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal ribbon
Combat Action Ribbon
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbonBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg U.S. Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal ribbonBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgSilver-service-star-3d.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze star
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal ribbon
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal ribbon Vietnam Service Medal ribbonBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgSilver-service-star-3d.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg Korea Defense Service Medal ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment RibbonBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Vietnamese Gallantry Cross ribbonAward-star-silver-3d.pngAward-star-silver-3d.png Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d United Nations Medal ribbon Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp
USMC Rifle Expert badge USMC Pistol Expert badge
1st row Medal of Honor
2nd row Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device Purple Heart Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device Combat Action Ribbon
3rd row Navy Presidential Unit Citation with three bronze service stars Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with seven service stars Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with service star National Defense Service Medal with service star
4th row Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal with nine service stars Korea Defense Service Medal Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two service stars
5th row Vietnam Gallantry Cross with two Silver Stars Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation United Nations Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal
Badges Rifle expert marksmanship badge (11 awards) Pistol expert marksmanship badge (16 awards)

See also


  1. ^ a b Harkins, Gina (19 July 2018). "Trump to Award Medal of Honor to Marine for Hue City Heroism". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  2. ^ SUPERVILLE, DARLENE. "Retired Marine receives Medal of Honor for Vietnam actions". Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Medal of Honor: Sgt. Maj. John Canley". The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Vietnam vet from Arkansas awarded Medal of Honor for heroism". 18 October 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  5. ^ Shulimson, Jack; LtCol. Leonard Blasiol; Charles R. Smith; Capt. David A. Dawson (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968, the Defining Year. History and Museums Division, USMC. p. 171-3. ISBN 0-16-049125-8.
  6. ^ "Marine veteran to receive Medal of Honor 50 years after his actions in Vietnam". 25 September 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.

External links

1st Battalion, 1st Marines

1st Battalion 1st Marines (1/1) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based out of Camp Pendleton, California, consisting of anywhere from 800 to 2,000 Marines and Sailors, but the number fluctuates depending on the Battalion's mission. They fall under the command of the 1st Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Division.

Caledonia, Arkansas

Caledonia is an unincorporated community in Union County, Arkansas, United States.

Canley (disambiguation)

Canley may refer to:

John Canley (born 1938) United States Marine Corps Sergeant Major and recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Canley, a suburb on the west side of Coventry, England, United Kingdom.

Canley, a fictional London borough, the setting for The Bill, a British television police drama series, which was aired on ITV from 1984 until 2010.

Diocese of Coventry

The Diocese of Coventry is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury. It is headed by the Bishop of Coventry, who sits at Coventry Cathedral in Coventry, and is assisted by one suffragan bishop, the Bishop of Warwick. The diocese covers Coventry and Warwickshire.

The diocese is divided into two archdeaconries, Warwick and Coventry. Warwick archdeaconry is then divided into the deaneries of Shipston, Fosse, Alcester, Southam and Warwick & Leamington, whilst Coventry archdeaconry is divided into the deaneries of Rugby, Nuneaton, Kenilworth, and Coventry South, East and North.The diocese was formed on 6 September 1918 from part of the Diocese of Worcester.

List of African-American Medal of Honor recipients

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. Recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Because of the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.Of the 3,470 Medals of Honor awarded as of June 2015, 90 have been awarded to 89 different African-American recipients. Robert Augustus Sweeney is one of 19 men, and the only African American, to have been awarded two Medals of Honor.A 1993 study commissioned by the United States Army investigated racial discrimination in the awarding of medals. At the time, no Medals of Honor had been awarded to black soldiers who served in World War II. After an exhaustive review of files, the study recommended that several black Distinguished Service Cross recipients be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal to seven African-American World War II veterans; of these, only Vernon Baker was still alive.On March 18, 2014, following a review of 23 other citations of Hispanic, and Jewish soldiers who may have been passed over for the Medal of Honor due to their race or religion, former Special Forces soldier Melvin Morris, an African American was selected to be included into the review in order to allow his Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Medal, which is the United States Army's second highest award for combat valor to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor (MOH) the highest U.S. decoration for courage in combat.

List of Medal of Honor recipients for the Vietnam War

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.The Vietnam War, (also known as the Second Indochina War, Vietnam Conflict, and in Vietnam as the American War), took place from 1955 to 1975. The war was fought between the Communist-supported Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the United States-supported Republic of Vietnam, beginning with the presence of a small number of US military advisors in 1955 and escalating into direct US involvement in a ground war in 1965. US combat forces were withdrawn in early 1973 pursuant to the Paris Peace Accords, but the war continued concluding with the Fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.During the Vietnam War and in the following twelve months, 235 Medals of Honor were received and since 1978 a further 26 awards have been presented. Of the total of 261 awards, 174 were to the US Army, 15 to the US Navy, 58 to the USMC and 14 to the USAF. These totals do not include the award to the Vietnam Unknown Soldier.

The first Medal of Honor presentation for Vietnam was to Captain Roger Donlon for actions on 6 July 1964 as commanding officer of the U.S. Army Special Forces Detachment defending Camp Nam Dong against a Viet Cong attack. The last actions to earn a Medal of Honor in this war were those of Bud Day, for actions as a prisoner of war from 26 August 1967 through 14 March 1973. Day and three others were presented with the Medal of Honor by President Ford at the White House on March, 4, 1976. They were the last of the 235 servicemen awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War and in the following twelve months.

The first African American recipient of the war was Milton L. Olive III who sacrificed himself to save others by smothering a grenade with his body. Riley L. Pitts was killed after attacking an enemy force with rifle fire and grenades and was the first African American commissioned officer of the war to receive the medal. Thomas Bennett was a conscientious objector who received the medal for his actions as a medic; three chaplains received the medal, including Vincent R. Capodanno, who served with the Marine Corps and was known as the "Grunt Padre".

List of living Medal of Honor recipients

There are currently 70 living recipients of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon any member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."Of the 70 living recipients, three earned their Medals of Honor in World War II, five in the Korean War, 49 in the Vietnam War, and 13 in the War in Afghanistan. One earned his medal while serving in the U.S. Air Force, 49 in the U.S. Army, 12 in the U.S. Marine Corps, and eight in the U.S. Navy. The oldest recipient is Charles H. Coolidge, aged 97, whereas the youngest is Kyle Carpenter, aged 29. Two medal holders are still on active duty in the U.S. military, War in Afghanistan soldier William D. Swenson of the U.S. Army and Edward Byers of the U.S. Navy. Among the recipients are former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey and three retired generals: Patrick Henry Brady and Robert F. Foley of the Army and James E. Livingston of the Marine Corps.

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