VN035-KC Gunny John Canley
January 1968 he was with Alpha Co., 1st Btn., 1st Marine Regt., 1st Marine Division stationed near the old Imperial Capital of Hue in central Vietnam. While serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant, he was part of the USMC forces sent into Hue to help recapture the city and releave the beleaguered American and South Vietnamese troops then being besieged by the joint NVA and VC offensive which had captured most of the city.
On numerous occasions, despite being wounded himself, ‘Gunny’ Canley ran across fire-swept terrain to rescue and recover other wounded Marines and bring them to safety. When his own Commanding Officer was seriously wounded and no other officer was available the ‘Gunny’ took command of the company and continued to lead it forward. For three whole days he continued in command of Alpha and at the same time, led a number of assaults on enemy bunkers and defences often exposing himself to direct enemy fire.
On February 6, 1968, on two separate occasions the Gunnery Sergeant climbed over a wall, in full view of the enemy to pull and carry casualties to a more protected position. For this kind of inspired and dedicated leadership and courage ‘Gunny’ Canley was at the time awarded the Navy Cross.
Many years later, in 2017, this award was belatedly but well-deservedly upgraded to the Medal of Honor when in 2018 President Donald J. Trump presented John Canley with his medal. Although a Gunnery Sergeant in Vietnam in 1968, John Canley eventually rose to the rank of Sergeant Major before retiring from the USMC in 1981 after 28 years of loyal and courageous service to his country and his beloved corps.