Hue City Marine to Receive Medal of Honor
Create Post
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Hue City Marine to Receive Medal of Honor

    Marine To Receive Medal Of Honor For Heroics During Battle Of Hue City

    A retired sergeant major credited with saving scores of Marines during one of the Vietnam War’s deadliest battles will receive the Medal of Honor, has confirmed.

    Retired Sgt. Maj. John Canley, 80, of Oxnard, California, learned he’ll receive the nation’s highest award for valor during a July 9 phone call from President Donald Trump. It was first reported Thursday by the Ventura County Star.

    “He told me that it was OK to let my Marines know that I would be receiving the Medal of Honor,” Canley told “He thanked me for my service and also wanted to thank my Marines for their service.”

    The fight to see Canley’s Navy Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor has beena years-long effort. The former company gunnery sergeant with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, is recognized with leading more than 140 men through an intense week-long battle to retake Hue City from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968.

    Canley, who’s from El Dorado, Arkansas, repeatedly braved heavy enemy fire to bring several wounded Marines to safety. When his company commander was seriously injured, Canley sprang into action, reorganizing his Marines by moving from one group to another to advise and encourage them, hisNavy Cross citation states.

    Former Pfc. John Ligato was one of those men. Ligato has spent the last 15 years making calls, taking Marines’ statements and writing letters to see his gunny get the recognition he deserved.

    “The Medal of Honor was rejected 10 times — never on the merits of what he did, it was always procedural,” Ligato said. “There were times I gave up. … But the irony is he’s one of the most deserved Medal of Honor recipients ever in the history of our country.”

    Canley said his Marines were his only concern during the brutal battle. The average age of those fighting in the Vietnam War was just 19, he said, and they were looking for leadership.

    “I’m just happy that I could provide that,” he said. “It was an honor.”

    Ligato said Canley’s actions far exceeded expectations. There were 147 Marines facing off against about 10,000 North Vietnamese troops. Canley not only led them from the front, but also with love, he said.

    “I know this sounds strange, but he wasn’t one of these gruff, screaming guys. You did stuff for him because you didn’t want to disappoint him,” he said. “You followed him because he was a true leader — something you need in life-and-death situations.
    “He was totally fearless,” Ligato added. “He loved his Marines, and we loved him back.”

    A date has not yet been set for the White House ceremony, but Ligato said Canley has asked him to speak about his company’s Marines. Many of them went back to their communities one-by-one, he said, speaking little about the horrors they saw in Vietnam.

    When they did talk about it, though, there was always one common thread.

    “We all had a Gunny Canley story,” Ligato said. “They were all different, but they all involved tremendous acts of valor.”

    That’s why Ligato and some of his comrades have fought doggedly to have this honor bestowed, something Canley said has humbled him. From talking to members of Congress to Pentagon officials, they were determined to see this day come.

    Canley’s Medal of Honor citation will be read by Marines for generations. The retired sergeant major, who’s battled prostate cancer since leaving Vietnam, said he hopes that those who go on to become staff noncommissioned officers or officers take away one simple message.

    “That leadership is all about taking care of your people,” he said. “If you do that, then you basically don’t have to worry about the mission.”

    This Medal of Honor will help fill in the blanks of one of the most important Marine Corps battles in history, Ligato said. The actions Canley showed on the battlefield 50 years ago epitomize what it means to be a Marine, he added.

    “Marines have been doing this since 1775,” Ligato said. “Every once in a while, you have a Chesty Puller, a John Basilone or a John Canley. I think Marines reading his citation can take away that the Marine Corps is timeless.”

    Similar Threads:

  2. #2
    Semper Fi, SgtMaj Canley, a recognition well deserved.....

  3. #3
    Squad Leader Platinum Member Zulu 36's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Unlike Russ, I wasn't anywhere near Hue during Tet 68. I did survive the Detroit Riots 1967. However, I have studied that battle extensively and wrote papers about it for college. Why Gunny (SgtMaj) Canley never got the Medal of Honor then for what he did has always been a question I had. Much perplexed.

    I know that Sgt Gonzales from A/1/1 got the Blue Max, and well deserved from what I've read. But all I could figure was that one of two things got in the way of an MoH for Gunny Canley: (1) - They were playing the only one MoH per unit per battle game, or because (2) Gunny Canley was black.

    I hate the race card. I also hate the one to a customer game. I would prefer to think it was the one to a customer game that precluded Canley getting a MoH back then. I hope that was the reason. It has happened before in the military. If you watched the movie or read the book Band of Brothers, you would have learned that it was policy that only one MoH would be awarded per division for D-Day actions. The CG of the 1st Infantry Division managed to ramrod, I think, three through for D-Day actions, but everyone else got one per division. Then 1stLt Dick Winters was recommended for the MoH for his Breacourt Manor action, but lost out to a battalion commander in the 101st (who did rate his). Winters deserved one too, but only one to a customer. But it's Winters who everyone remembers and studies his battle as a great example of small unit leadership in combat.

    I'm glad SgtMaj Canley is getting his overdue Medal of Honor. He definitely rates it.

  4. #4
    Glad he got what he deserved....

  5. #5
    Semper Fi! Sergeant Major. An award long overdue!


  6. #6
    Semper Fi

  7. #7
    Marine Free Member FistFu68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    My Plt Sgt and friend earned the CMOH on Meade River and as I read this Gallant Marines citation makes me dam proud to be a survivor and Vietnam Veteran,Congratulations Sgt Major,your a helluva good Man Aye Aye Semper Fi

  8. #8
    Congrats SgtMajor. Semper Fi.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not Create Posts
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts