News   Observances

Heroic Marine Joins Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes

Oct. 19, 2018 | BY Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Jennings

Medal of Honor recipient retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley was inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon Oct. 18, 2018.

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What is the Hall of Heroes?
  • It is a room dedicated for people to honor the brave service members who have received the Medal of Honor, the highest award for bravery that can be awarded to members of America’s armed forces for exceptional acts of valor.
    "Hall of Heroes" is posted in gold letters on a white wall, with a blue wall  with large medals displayed on it in the background.
    Hall Wall
    Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley was inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Oct. 18, 2018. Canley’s name has been added to the room with more than 3,500 other service members who received the Medal of Honor for their combat valor.
    Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant
    VIRIN: 181018-D-TW998-001
  • It opened in 1968 and the name of every person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Civil War is displayed there.
  • With the addition of Canley’s name, the hall now holds the names of 3,504 men and one woman.
    Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and Medal of Honor recipient retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley remove the curtain from Canley's Hall of Heroes plaque.
    Hall of Heroes
    Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan inducts Medal of Honor recipient and retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley into the Hall of Heroes during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Oct. 18, 2018. DOD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
    Photo By: Amber I. Smith
    VIRIN: 181018-D-SV709-0193Y
  • The woman is Dr. Mary E. Walker, who received the medal for her work during the Civil War as a surgeon.
  • Three large Medal of Honor replicas are displayed prominently on the stage in the Hall of Heroes. They represent the Army, Navy and Air Force versions of the medal.
    Three large recreations of Medals of Honor are displayed on a blue wall.
    Three Medals
    Replicas of the Navy, Army and Air Force Medals of Honors are displayed in the front of the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., Oct. 19, 2018. The Hall of Heroes is a room dedicated for people to honor recipients of the Medal of Honor.
    Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Megan Friedl
    VIRIN: 181019-D-DD059-014
  • Asterisks appear next to the names of those who received two medals, while dots appear next to the names of those who received medals from both the Army and Navy for the same act of gallantry.

During the ceremony to induct Canley, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said, “Because of the actions that earned you your place on our wall in the Pentagon, there are other names that will never have to be carved on a wall across the river [Vietnam Veterans Memorial] and for that we owe you a debt of gratitude as a nation.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley
Honor Ceremony
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan inducts Medal of Honor recipient and retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley into the Hall of Heroes during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Oct. 18, 2018.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
VIRIN: 181018-D-SV709-0170C

In 1968, as the company gunnery sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Canley led multiple attacks against enemy-fortified positions, rushed across fire-swept terrain despite his own wounds and carried wounded Marines into Hue City, Vietnam, including his commanding officer, to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded.

Read more about Canley’s acts of valor here.

Canley also received an official Medal of Honor flag and was part of a parade to honor him at the Marine Barracks Washington on Oct. 19. Watch that video here.