President Trump Awards Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major John L Canley, USMC…

Earlier today President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major John L. Canley, United States Marine Corps (Retired), for conspicuous gallantry.


Sergeant Major John L. Canley received the Medal of Honor for his actions From January 31 to February 6, 1968, while assigned to Company A, First Battalion, First Marines in the Republic of Vietnam. While serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant, he fought off multiple enemy attacks as his company moved along a highway toward Hue City to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded.

On several occasions, despite his own wounds, he rushed across fire-swept terrain to carry wounded Marines to safety. When his commanding officer was severely wounded, he took command and led his company into Hue City. While in command of the company for three days, he led attacks against multiple enemy-fortified positions while exposing himself to enemy fire to carry wounded Marines to safety.

On February 6, at a hospital compound, he twice scaled a wall in full view of the enemy to aid wounded Marines and carry them to safety. Then-Gunnery Sergeant Canley’s heroic actions saved the lives of his teammates.

[Transcript] – East Room – 4:11 P.M. EDT – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. And thank you very much, Chaplain. Appreciate it. Please sit down.

Vice President Mike Pence, thank you for joining us for today’s ceremony. This is always one of my favorite events. I like brave people. We meet them right here.

Fifty years ago, an American Marine fought with unmatched bravery in one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War — the Battle of Huế City. The name of that heroic Marine is Sergeant Major John Canley. (Applause.) I think you like him. (Laughter.)

Today, we proudly award John the Congressional Medal of Honor. (Applause.) John’s family is with us to pay tribute — his children, Ricky, Yukari, and Patricia; along with his two grandchildren, Victoria and Candice. Thank you very much for being here. Appreciate it. (Applause.) Also with us is John’s cousin, who has always been like a brother to him, James Canley. James, thank you very much. Stand up, James. (Applause.)

We’re grateful to be joined by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. Thanks, Patrick. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer. (Applause.) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford. (Applause.) Hey, John, there are some pretty big people over here, when you hear that, right? (Laughter.) These are the biggest. These are the biggest, John.

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Peter. (Applause.) Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, General. Stand up, Robert. Come on. Stand up. Thank you, Robert.

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green. And — (Applause.) You know, it’s like old family week, huh? (Laughter.)

Boy, here’s a Marine I like a lot that we all know, we all love. He’s doing a fantastic job. Four-star General John Kelly. Stand up. (Applause.)

And thank you as well to Congresswoman Julia Brownley for being with us. Thank you. Thank you, Julia. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

We are especially thankful to be joined by five previous Medal of Honor recipients: Donald Ballard; Harvey Barnum — please stand as I call you name; Roger Donlon; Thomas Kelley; and Brian Thacker. (Applause.)

Sergeant Major John Canley was born in Caledonia, Arkansas. In 1953, at the age of 15, John used his brother’s paperwork to enlist in the United States Marines. (Laughter.) We didn’t know that, John. (Laughter.)

John served in South Korea and Japan, before shipping out to Vietnam for more than five years of intense combat.

On January 30th, 1968, Vietnamese families gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year, known as “Tet.” In the midst of the celebration, thousands of North Vietnamese communists launched surprise attacks all over and throughout the country. This became known as the “Tet Offensive,” one of the largest enemy offenses that we’ve ever seen, and certainly of the Vietnam War.

Within the first day, the communists seized control of a vital American stronghold — Huế City.

At the time of the attack, John was a Gunnery Sergeant with Alpha Company, First Battalion, First Marine Regiment. This company of roughly 150 Marines was tasked to help take back the city.

On their way, the enemy attacked them with machine guns, mortars, rockets, and everything else they had. John’s friend Pat Fraleigh was struck by a rocket explosion and was about to be run over by a tank when John charged through enemy fire, and carried him back to safety.

Today, 50 years later, Pat is here with us at the White House to honor the hero who saved his life. Thank you for being here, Pat. Where’s Pat? Pat. (Applause.) That’s great, Pat. Thank you very much. I knew you’d have no problem getting up. (Laughter.) That’s great. Thank you, Pat.

Early in the battle, John’s commanding officer was seriously wounded. Command then fell to John, who quickly organized his men and led them through the fight.

One of his fellow warriors who joins us today, John Ligato, said, “You followed him because he was a true leader. He was totally fearless. He loved his Marines, and we loved him back.” Where is John? Where are you, John? Stand up, John. (Applause.) Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you very much for being here.

By the end of the day, John and his company of less than 150 Marines had successfully pushed into the city which was held by 6,000 — at least — communist fighters.

In the days that followed, John led his company through the fog and rain, and in house-to-house — very vicious, very hard — combat. He assaulted enemy strongholds; killed enemy fighters; and, with deadly accuracy, did everything you had to do. He raced into heavy machine gun fire on many occasions, all to save his fellow Marines. In one harrowing engagement after another, John risked his own life to save the lives of those under his command.

During the fifth day of combat, John and his company were tasked with liberating the Joan of Arc School, which had become a strategic and symbolic stronghold of the communists’ control of the city.

As soon as John’s company arrived, communist forces unleashed their machine guns with tremendous velocity, tremendous violence, all at the Marines. Undeterred, John and his comrade Sergeant Alfredo Gonzalez fearlessly charged forward with rocket launchers, killing the enemy and driving them from their positions. The enemy didn’t know what the hell happened. (Laughter.)

During this daring maneuver, Sergeant Gonzalez was shot and killed, giving his life for his nation and for his fellow Marines. Today, we are honored to be joined by Sergeant Gonzalez’s mother — who I just met, who is incredible — Maria. Where is Maria? Maria. There’s Maria. (Applause.) Thank you, Maria. Everybody in this room had great respect for your son. You know that. Thank you very much.

We are also joined by Henry Murphy, whose brother Walter died fighting courageously in the Battle of Huế City. And Henry — where are you, Henry? Please stand up. (Applause.)

To Maria and Henry: We are eternally in your debt. Sergeant Gonzalez and Major Murphy are heroes who will live forever in the hearts of all Americans. Thank you both very much for being here. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

As the battle raged on, Sergeant Major John Canley fought his way inside the Joan of Arc School. There, he and his fellow Marines went room to room, in brutal, close-quarters combat.

John raced straight into enemy fire over and over again, saving numerous American lives, and defeating a large group of communist fighters.

After an intense day of fighting, John and his fellow Marines liberated the school. But John wasn’t done yet. Despite sustaining serious injuries — very, very serious injuries — he continued to face down the enemy with no thought for his own safety.

John waged seven straight days of unrelenting combat, personally saving the lives of more than 20 Marines. By the battle’s end, American Marines had defeated the communists and taken back the city.

Today, we are joined by more than 30 of the brave Marines who fought with valor in the Battle of Huế City. Would you please stand? (Applause.) You make us all very proud. Thank you for being here. Thank you very much.

Sergeant Major John Canley continued his service long after Vietnam, training thousands of Marines in combat drills and overseas. Now, at 80 years old — you don’t look 80 years old to me. (Laughter.) Looks like we could put him in, Joe, right away. Right? Nobody would know the difference, right? (Laughter.) That’s really great. He still goes to the gym. I asked him that question. I said, “How are you keeping in shape?” “I still work out, sir.” (Laughter.) It’s beautiful.

And he goes right on base right near his home in California and gives advice to young Marines.

John’s fellow Marines have described him as a “Marine warrior” — and I can see it — who is “bigger than life and beyond the reach of death.” He is truly larger than life.

John, it is because of your extraordinary personality, and being, and whatever it takes that really do something very special for our country. America is the greatest force for peace, justice, and freedom the world has ever known because of you and people like you. There are very few. There are very few. Brave people — but very, very few like you, John.

It is now my incredible privilege to present Sergeant Major John Canley with the Congressional Medal of Honor. And I would like to ask the military aide to come forward and read the citation. Thank you.

MILITARY AIDE: The President of the United States, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Gunnery Sergeant John L. Canley, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy while serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant, Alpha Company, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, from 31 January to 6 February 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam.

Alpha Company fought off multiple vicious attacks as it rapidly moved along the highway toward Huế City to relieve friendly forces that were surrounded by enemy.

Despite being wounded in these engagements, Gunnery Sergeant Canley repeatedly rushed across fire-swept terrain to carry his wounded Marines to safety.

After his commanding officer was severely wounded, Gunnery Sergeant Canley took command and led the company into Huế City.

At Huế City, caught in deadly crossfire from enemy machine gun positions, he set up a base of fire and maneuvered with a platoon in a flanking attack that eliminated several enemy positions.

Retaining command of the company for three days, he led attacks against multiple enemy fortified positions while routinely braving enemy fire to carry wounded Marines to safety.

On 4 February, he led a group of Marines into an enemy-occupied building in Huế City. He moved into the open to draw fire, located the enemy, eliminated the threat, and expanded the company’s hold on the building room by room. Gunnery Sergeant Canley then gained position above the enemy strongpoint and dropped in a large satchel charge that forced the enemy to withdraw.

On 6 February, during a fierce firefight at a hospital compound, Gunnery Sergeant Canley twice scaled a wall in full view of the enemy to carry wounded Marines to safety.

By his undaunted courage, selfless sacrifice, and unwavering devotion to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Canley reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

(The Medal of Honor is presented.) (Applause.)

END – 4:29 P.M. EDT

This entry was posted in Heros, Military, President Trump, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to President Trump Awards Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major John L Canley, USMC…

  1. Conservativeinny says:

    Thank you, this is special.

    Liked by 14 people

  2. Janie M. says:

    Sergeant Major John Canley, you make me proud. Semper Fi. I salute you, my fellow Marine. (His heroics made my eyes water.)

    Liked by 27 people

  3. An awesome story. Thank you Sgt. Major Canley.

    And thanks for the prodigious Treehouse today!

    Liked by 9 people

  4. Q&A says:

    “There are very few. There are very few. Brave people — but very, very few like you, John.”
    Amazing story, amazing man.

    Liked by 10 people

  5. IMO says:

    Amazing story. Amazing Marine. He looks sharp in uniform. Retired Sergeant Major John L. Canley’s family must be very proud of him.

    Liked by 15 people

  6. 4sure says:

    Sergeant Major John Canley is a real hero and instead of youth idolizing the losers in sports, hollywood and elsewhere, they should idolize a real hero. The NFL, NBA players could not carry this man’s jock strap.

    Thank you for your extraordinary service to your country and your fellow marines.


    Liked by 25 people

  7. USMC1833 says:

    Semper Fi my brother . Solute to you .

    Liked by 12 people

  8. To be able to honor our vets and military is very special and completely heartfelt for our POTUS Trump. He truly loves them all.

    Liked by 16 people

  9. Joe Collins says:

    President Trump appears to have opened up the spigot on these Medal of Honor nominations which sat unattended through the past administrations.

    Liked by 15 people

  10. Kay Emig says:

    My vocabulary is too poor to give an adequate thanks to this fine man – but thank you and God bless you Sergeant Major John Canley.

    Liked by 15 people

  11. Jeff says:

    I salute you, Sgt Major Canley.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Greg says:

    PDJT awarding the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major John L Canley was very special. Everyone who serves their country is very special to me; legendary heroes like Sergeant Major John L Canley brings-up an emotion in my inner core that are beyond words.

    Thank You Sgt Major Canley (all heroes) and everyone who serves our country; you gave me the opportunity to live in a Constitutional Republic and to be free.

    Liked by 11 people

  13. tonytran2015 says:

    50 years late !
    Why was not he awarded the medal shortly after the events ?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 🍺Gunny66 says:

    Semper Fi SgtMajor.

    A job well done.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Mr BiG Time says:

    Wow! What a remarkable story. Well deserved recognition!

    Liked by 6 people

  16. Retired USMC says:

    Semper Fi Sgt Maj! It truly is a proud moment! Staff NCO’s are the backbone of our beloved Corps!

    Liked by 8 people

  17. Sunshine says:

    I love the way President Trump handles these ceremonies, always with deep respect and emotion. As a bonus, we also learn a history lesson.

    Full honors to the very brave Gunnery Sergeant Canley who scaled walls to save his own injured under his command. It’s remarkable such a small unit would confront 6,000 of their enemy and win.

    I’m truly humbled.

    Liked by 8 people

  18. tonyE says:

    You just got to wonder…. why did it take 50 years?

    How come Trump can find these guys and give their well deserved medals? You tell me that not even Ronald Reagan could?

    Most excellent of Trump. Sure his rhetoric is not Reaganesque but he truly comes through with his actions. And he draws everybody into the event. A true group hug to honor this man.

    This guy really, really did something truly heroic. It’s fantastic that he finally got the recognition he deserved but never asked for.


    Liked by 9 people

  19. Doug says:

    The Battle for Hue City was one of the most brutal, violent battles the Marines have ever experienced. Outnumbered and attacking a rabidly fanatical, fortified, enemy, what these men did was incredible. All the men who were there are heroes. THESE are the people I stand and pay respects to when our National Anthem is played.
    Well done Sgt Major. 80 years old and hard as a rock.
    What a man.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Maquis says:

    No words. Just tears and gratitude.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. pnj01 says:

    Sgt. Major Canley looked so sharp standing there. Eighty Years Old but as sharp as a USMC Gunnery Sergeant or Sgt Major should be. The President clearly loves to highlight and thereby pay homage to the sacrifice of men like Canley and Gonzalez. Anyone who lived through the Tet Offensive knows what desperate days those were. We are all in the debt of the brave men who turned the tide in Hue and so many other fights in February 1968.

    Liked by 6 people

    • pnj01 says:

      I phrased this wrong: “Anyone who lived through the Tet Offensive knows….” All I meant was that any American alive and an adult in Feb. 1968 knew how close we came to being overrun during the Tet Offensive, but it sounds like I was claiming to be in Viet Nam at the time of the Tet Offensive. I WAS NOT. I was in my last year of college back in the USA.

      My younger brother was in the USA too, but he got drafted in April 1968 and things were so stretched in Viet Nam that 1/10 of the draftees were going into the USMC, which had not been true until the Tet Offensive. My brother ended up in the Marines and in Viet Nam in Early 1969. As it happened, his unit was one of the first five withdrawn from Viet Nam by Pres. Nixon, so he served a good deal less than a Year in-country. I myself ended up going through ROTC while I went through Law School (1968-71) and became a Second Lieutenant in the US Army in 1971 but I didn’t have to go to Viet Nam because the war was winding down and I was given the opportunity to just do training with a longer commitment. Sorry if I said that wrong.

      Liked by 4 people

      • cthulhu says:

        Thanks for clarifying. Thanks even more for feeling that you had to clarify. Some honorless pissants like a certain Senator I won’t name would never feel the impulse to do so. And thank you for your service. I was eight years old through most of 1971 and never had to deal seriously with the horribly corrupt draft…..but I salute any who honorably served, whether compelled or called to service.

        Liked by 3 people

  22. covfefe999 says:

    Canley originally was awarded the Navy Cross, but fellow Marines [John] Ligato and Eddie Neas helped lead an effort to upgrade the former gunny’s award to the Medal of Honor.

    it still took nearly 13 years to push Canley’s medal upgrade through the Pentagon’s red tape. “The delays were never on the merits of Gunny Canley’s actions, they were bureaucratic delays,” Ligato said.

    It looks like maybe Barry did nothing and Trump finally freed the clog.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. MaineCoon says:

    A true hero. I am grateful President Trump is awarding the Medal of Honor to many deserving heroes, while they are living. I couldn’ t help but think of no name…he truly was not a hero. Sgt Maj Canley was a hero. Thank you for your service. A job very well done.


  24. Derek of Florida says:

    Humble thanks Gunny. Thank you as always for posting SD.
    50+ years since Tet Offensive!.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I am always impressed by these men and their bravery, but enlisting at the age of 15 just blows me away. Holy Moly…wow…do we have people like this today? I mean, people today are still living at home with mom and dad at 30!!! Wow. Bless him.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Jimney says:

    This is awesome!! Just not sure where the president came up with the fella was 80…… lol God bless both of them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Chicago->Arizona says:

      Jimney ,

      DOB 1938
      “Sergeant Major John Canley was born in Caledonia, Arkansas. In 1953, at the age of 15, John used his brother’s paperwork to enlist in the United States Marines.”

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Chicago->Arizona says:

    Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John Canley poses for a photo after a physical training session during Marine Week in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 7 2018.

    PT at 80 years old !

    Semper Fi

    Liked by 8 people

    • covfefe999 says:

      He looks 20 years younger than his actual age. And he would look phenomenal for a 60 year old even. Amazing! I know he works out, I want to know what he eats, if he smokes or drinks, etc.


  28. Wayne says:

    Semper Fi Sgt Maj! you were long overdue for the MOH thank you for your service and God Bless you and yours,I am proud to be a Marine and my son is a Marine

    Liked by 2 people

  29. RatedProduct says:

    Sheesh, sounds like the whole damn Company deserves high honors!
    Thank you and congratulations Sergeant Major. May you live long and continue to be an inspiration to all Americans.
    On a side note: How often did President Obumbles make such a presentation?
    Without a teleprompter.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. The best of America’s BEST.
    Semper Fi.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. tomf says:

    Did anyone notice the number of Marines who were introduced prior to the President awarding the MOH to Sgt. Maj. John Canley.
    A very proud moment for the USMC.
    We owned the room.
    Semper Fidelis

    Liked by 4 people

  32. the5thranchhand says:

    May the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Holy One of Israel bless this brave, brave soldier. Thank you sir, from the bottom of our hearts, for your loyalty, and service to our country.

    Liked by 4 people

  33. 6x47 says:

    I’m so happy this brave Marine is still alive to receive his MOH. Semper Fi!


  34. dilonsfo says:

    I would like to know why it took 50 years for this to happen. It is obvious he deserved this award. Did the Marine Corps just bury it only to be uncovered by President Trump. There seems there is a real problem with the military higher ups recognizing heroes among the enlisted. They have no problems awarding dummy service awards to officers who sit behind desks in safety while the real heroes get left behind. Congratulations to President Trump for getting the job done correctly.

    Liked by 5 people

  35. There was a whole lotta “Butt Puckering” going on that Day, I GAURONTEE!!


  36. solosr42 says:

    What an awesome person, just amazing, I hope life has been good to Sergeant Major John L. Canley, United States Marine Corps, as well as all the others, being honored.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Pyrthroes says:

    Awarded a Regular Commission, we served in remote surveillance “hardship posts” overlapping America’s early Vietnam engagements. But never for one moment would I compare these non-combatant stations to what Sgt. Major Canley, USMC, experienced each day.

    “Semper Fidelis, advancing apace, our defenders in memory spring green” (JPB, “Honored this Day”, 2006).


  38. Patriot1783 says:

    Thank you for posting SD.
    A well deserved and long past due honor for Sergeant Major Canley, his eyes tell his story.


  39. mugzey302 says:

    May God richly bless him. On behalf of America, I apologize to him for the despicable treatment Vietnam veterans received here at home ~ just shameful. And, I apologize that it took so long for him to receive this honor and recognition.


  40. Artemis Gordon says:

    Hard to watch these with all this liquid in my eyes……………… Semper Fi, Marine.


  41. PowerCord says:

    From one old Marine to another, well done Sergeant Major. Well done.


  42. RVN 1971 says:

    I think the President would of been more accurate if would of said “He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1953 at the age of 15”. Being 80 today means you were born in 1938 and 30 years old when he was a Gunny in 1968. A small mistake but just wanted clarify.

    Sad to say that there a lot of internal Politics involved in selecting MOH recipients. This time it couldn’t of gone to more deserving American. I’m proud to have met him.
    Semper Fi,
    RVN 1971


  43. Super Elite says:

    How did I know without any evidence that Sergeant Major John L. Canley was a Southerner?


  44. Jim Raclawski says:

    well executed life….. Marine—you did what every Marine counts on his fellow Marine to do….. locate-close with&destroy the enemy&&&always take care of each other
    Semper Fi brother until we meet on the other side-


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