Vietnam Medal of Honor Marine dies after decade-long battle with most cancers

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Medal of Honor recipient retired Marine Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley died Wednesday after a decade-long battle with most cancers, in response to 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 mentioned Thursday in a press launch.

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

50 years later, Marine gunny to be awarded the Medal of Honor for Hue Metropolis heroics

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 hassle had 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, 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 response to his award quotation.

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

Then-Gunny John Canley originally was awarded the Navy Cross while serving as a company commander at the outset of the infamous Tet Offensive in 1968. (Courtesy of the office of Julia Brownley)

“Below 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.

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 risk 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 top notch who had served below Canley, beforehand advised Marine Corps Occasions, “We’d all be useless if it wasn’t for the gunny.”

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

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 mentioned in an announcement, ”The actions within the face of hazard Sgt. Maj. Canley took are unbelievable and noteworthy.“

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

Gunny John Canley in uniform. (California Congresswoman Julia Brownley's office)

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

Sixty-four Medal of Honor recipients at the moment are alive at present, in response to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Andrea Scott is editor of Marine Corps Occasions. On Twitter: @_andreascott.

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