Navy veteran, 80, will receive Medal of Honor for Vietnam valor

On Oct. 17, President Trump will award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley.

(Congresswoman Julia Brownley)

Marine veteran John Canley is set to receive the nation’s highest military honor.

Canley led Marines through the streets fighting in the Vietnamese city of Hue for more than 50 years ago. The Battle of Hue took place during the Tet Offensive, Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 1968. Canley, now 80 and a retired sergeant major, carried several wounded Marines while under heavy enemy fire, and took command in order to maintain the unity of the organisation and the morale in what is known as the most chaotic battle of the Vietnam War.

Canley was injured more than once during the fights, but still continued to push forward.

“So they hear a sound and they look back and there is Canley. He walks upright, is not active, the small grass verge, takes the first man, throws him over his shoulder and walks back,” John Ligato, a Marine and FBI agent, told Newsweek about Canley’s heroic deeds. “So, there are two independent witnesses. … Canley says to them, individually, ‘to Keep, there is a lot of incoming.'”

On Tuesday, President Trump announced that Canley will be awarded the Medal of Honor on Oct. 17 for his “outstanding bravery.”

Canley is the sixth American to receive the honor of Trump and the third Vietnam War veteran, The Hill reported.

“It means a lot to me,” Canley told USA Today. “Especially for my Marines because we had to wait for the 50-plus years to get any kind of recognition.”

Canley shown that an almost Zenlike calm under fire during the Tet Offensive.

(Congresswoman Julia Brownley)

Ligato said that he was surprised at Canley the Zenlike calm during the fight.

“He has never tried and he is never suppressed,” Ligato told Newsweek. “You know, it’s just great. I don’t know if he had some sort of death wish or what Gunny says that he just gets in a zone and does what he needs to do. … I don’t know how the bullets don’t hit him.”

Canley, who spent 28 years in the service, left, El Dorado, Arkansas, at the age of 15 to join the Marines.

He conducted several tours in Vietnam from 1965 to 1970, and his efforts saved the lives of many men, earning him the Navy Cross.

“A leader is about taking care of your people,” Canley said in a press release in February. “If you do that, they will take it, and you don’t have to worry about your mission, and it doesn’t really matter whether it is the military or civilian: when you are in a leadership position, you must always remember that.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor related geopolitical, military, crime, technology, and sports for His e-mail is

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