WASHINGTON – President Trump awarded the Medal of Honor Wednesday to retired Sgt. Major John Canley for his “unmatched bravery” 50 years ago that saved the lives of at least 20 fellow Marines in the Vietnam War.
Trump hailed Canley’s heroics in the bloody Battle for Hue City in 1968 where a wounded — but “fearless” — Canley took control of his company after his commanding officer was severely injured.
Canley, now 80, then helped his troops take back a school that had been seized by enemy combatants.
“The enemy didn’t know what the hell happened,” Trump said.
In the emotional White House ceremony, more than 30 Marines who fought alongside Canley joined relatives of fellow Marines who lost their lives.
“John waged seven straight days of unrelenting combat, personally saving the lives of more than 20 Marines,” Trump said. “By the battle’s end, American Marines had defeated the communists and taken back the city.”
Canley enlisted in the Marines at age 15, using his brother’s paperwork. He served in South Korea and Japan prior to shipping off to Vietnam.
“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,” Trump said. “He is truly larger than life.”
Canley, a native of Arkansas, is father to three adult children and a grandfather. He now resides in Oxnard, California where he regularly works out at the nearby military base.
Trump marveled at the veteran’s fitness and quipped he’s strong enough to ship out today.
“You don’t look 80 years old to me,” Trump said. “He looks like we could put him in right away and nobody would know the difference.”
Also in attendance were five other Medal of Honor recipients. Trump said the military awards are one of his “favorite” jobs as president.
“I like brave people, and we meet them right here,” he said.
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