Rest in peace, John Lee Canley

1/1 Alpha Company 1968

The Marine Corps announces the passing of Medal of Honor recipient retired Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley on May 11 after a decades long battle with cancer.

Sgt. Maj. Canley passed away in Bend, Oregon, with his family at his bedside.

Sgt. Maj. Canley was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2018 for his actions in 1968 during the battle Hue City, Vietnam. While serving as the company gunnery sergeant for Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Sgt. Maj. Canley and his Marines fought off multiple attacks as they patrolled the city streets to relieve another company of Marines. According to the award citation, Sgt. Maj. Canley repeatedly rushed across gunfire-swept terrain to carry wounded Marines to safety during firefights with the enemy forces. After his company commander was severely wounded during a fight, Sgt. Maj. Canley took command of his company for three days and led the Marines through battle in Hue City.

Under his leadership, Alpha Company Marines destroyed fortified enemy positions throughout the city as Sgt. Maj. Canley continued to carry wounded Marines to safety. On February 4, 1968, Sgt. Maj. Canley led a group of Marines into an enemy-occupied building to eliminate their stronghold. In an effort to draw out the enemy and expose their position, Sgt. Maj. Canley moved into an open area, receiving machinegun fire. His Marines located and destroyed the threat and completely took over the building from the enemy. Two days later during a fierce firefight at a hospital compound, Sgt. Maj. Canley twice scaled a wall in full view of the enemy to carry wounded Marines to safety.

“Sgt. Maj. Canley was a leader and a warfighter who undoubtedly contributed to the battles won in Vietnam. His first priority was and has always been his Marines – a true example of Semper Fidelis.”
Sgt. Maj. Troy Black, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

Because of his undaunted courage, selfless sacrifice and unwavering devotion to duty, Sgt. Maj. Canley was awarded the Medal of Honor. His other awards also include the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” the Purple Heart, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” and the Combat Action Ribbon.

“The actions in the face of danger Sgt. Maj. Canley took are incredible and remarkable,” said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black. “Sgt. Maj. Canley was a leader and a warfighter who undoubtedly contributed to the battles won in Vietnam. His first priority was and has always been his Marines – a true example of Semper Fidelis. I’m saddened by the loss of such a great Marine, yet I’m grateful for the legacy he established for generations of warriors.”

Sgt. Maj. Canley was born on December 20, 1937, in Caledonia, Arkansas. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1953 and retired in 1981 as a sergeant major. He deployed on three combat tours to the Vietnam War and served as a rifle platoon leader, company gunnery sergeant and company first sergeant.

Sgt. Maj. Canley’s legacy will live on through the USS John L. Canley currently preparing for its christening scheduled for June 25 in San Diego. The ship is a 90,000-ton expeditionary sea-base and will be forward deployed in the Western Pacific.

Sgt. Maj. Canley will be buried with full military honors at the Arlington National Cemetery at a later date to be determined.

Article Source: https://www.marines.mil/News/News-Display/Article/3029327/medal-of-honor-recipient-vietnam-vet-sgtmaj-john-canley-passes-away/

Semper Fi John Lee Canley

Welcome 1/1 Marines!

Vietnam Veterans Reunion

 San Antonio, Texas

Menger Hotel 

May 4th – 8th, 2022

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Alamo Tour

A tour revealing the story of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and taking you to key battlefield locations that are today hidden under San Antonio’s streets.

Company and Women’s Luncheons

Battalion Banquet, Company and Women’s luncheon. Gather separately for lunch and talk about the good ole days in a local restaurant or hotels area restaurant.

Battalion Auction

The auction is a tradition and is used to help raise funds for the 1/1 Organization.

Battalion Meeting

Includes the 2022 reunion chairman updates, financial report, election of officers, approval of future reunions, and battalion business. 


Message from the Board President

It’s Reunion Registration Time

The REUNION is scheduled for May 4th – 8th at the MENGER Hotel in San Antonio Texas. All arrangements are in place, including confirmed guest speakers: General Juan G. Ayala, General Ray Smith, and Guest of Honor, Mrs. Dolia Gonzalez. Be assured, that all measures are being taken for a COVID safe REUNION.


MENGER Hotel

204 Alamo Plaza San

Antonio, TX 78205

(210-223-4361)


Print out the registration form and send in immediately. Also call the MENGER Hotel to confirm your room reservations at the discounted rate. We look forward to

receiving your registration and seeing you, and your guests in May. Marine Corps


Semper Fi

Sam Verdeja


______________________________________


Banquet Dress

Generally, 1/1-ers and guests wear coat & tie or equivalent. Questions from 1/1-ers about wearing dress uniforms at our banquet arise from time to time, especially from those who also attend Khe Sanh Vets reunions. 1/1-ers can wear uniforms when the following conditions are met (excerpted from Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, Chapters 8 & 11):


  1. When “…parades or ceremonies of a patriotic character in which any active or reserve U.S. military unit…” is taking part; and,
  2. When the wearer abides “…by Marine Corps grooming and personal appearance standards and the uniform will be worn in the manner prescribed.”


Our banquet qualifies due to ‘Missing Man’ Ceremony and nature of banquet itself. There will be a 4th Marines Honor Guard trooping the colors, and a 4th Recon Team performing the ceremony. The second criterion cannot be overstressed: “All personnel exercising the privilege of wearing the Marine Corps service or dress uniform will comply fully with Marine Corps grooming and weight control standards.”


Semper Fi

Robert (Blackie) Black



Present at the Battalion Banquet

Mrs. Dolia Gonzalez, Mother of Hue City Battle, Medal of Honor recipient, Sargent Alfredo Gonzalez will be present throughout the Reunion. We will also be honored by General Juan Ayala, Government and Military Affairs for City of San Antonio, and the Battalion Banquet keynote speaker, General Ray Smith.

General Juan Ayala

Guest Speaker

General Ray Smith

Keynote Speaker

Dolia Gonzalez

Special Guest

Itinerary

Hospitality room will be open 

Wednesday – Saturday from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm 

Wednesday

OCT. 23

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


Arrival and Check-in


Optional Activities:

(Throughout Reunion) 

Old Town: Free Shuttle

Restaurants

Entertainment Venues

Shopping Center 

Thursday

OCT. 24

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


Women/Guests Luncheon

11:30 am @ Old Town


Company Luncheon

11:30 am @ Old Town


Evening

Free time

Friday

OCT. 25

Continental Breakfast

*7:00 am – 7:45 am


MCRD 

Graduation Ceremony 

Parade Ceremony 

Lunch at MCRD

Free Time 

8:00 am – 3:00 pm


City Tour

Mountain Soledad

National Veterans Memorial 

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm 


Evening

Free Time

Saturday

OCT. 26

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


Battalion Meeting 

At Hotel 

10:00 am – 12:00 pm


Battalion Auction

TBD


Battalion Banquet

Reception 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Dinner 6:30 pm (start time) 

Program 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm 

Sunday 

OCT. 27

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


Departure

 

Note:  

Charter buses are handicap accessible and have toilets, and refreshments provided by Reunion Committee  

*On Friday Continental Breakfast is scheduled in Hospitality room from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. due to early start for City tour and MCRD

Hotel Reservations

Hotel Rate: $119 Per Night + 12.5% California Tax

 Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mission Valley 

2270 Hotel Circle North

San Diego, California 92108

(619-297-1101)  

A dedicated website is available to book your hotel room!

Please ask for the “1st Battalion 1st Marines Vietnam” rate

Or use Group Code “MVV” when calling 1-888-233-9527

Itinerary

Wednesday

MAY. 4

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


Arrival and Check-in

Lobby of Hotel


Silent Battalion Auction


Optional Activities:

(Throughout Reunion) 

Veterans Memorial

Mexican Market Place

Tower of the Americas

Double-Decker Bus Tour

Riverwalk Boat Rides

Local Eateries

Thursday

MAY 5

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


BN Chaplin Gathering

Room TBD

8:30 am – 9:30 am


Company and Women’s Lunches

11:30 am / Room TBD


Seminar: Vietnam Memorial of San Antonio

2:00 pm – Finish

Presented by John Baines – Founder


Evening

On your own – Free time

Friday

MAY. 6

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


BN Chaplin Gathering

Room TBD

9:00 am – 10:00 pm


Battalion Auction

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Seth Wolfe, 1/1 Board Member


Hue City Forum

2:00 pm – End

Robert (Blackie) Black, 1/1 Board Member


Evening

On your own – Free time

Saturday

MAY. 7

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


BN Chaplin Services

Room TBD

9:00 am – 9:45 am


Battalion Meeting 

Room TBD

10:00 am – 12:00 pm


Free Afternoon

Free time before the Banquet.


Battalion Banquet

Reception 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Program 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Speakers

Maj. Gen. Juan G. Ayala USMC (RETIRED)

Maj. Gen. Ray Smith USMC (RETIRED)

Special Guest

Mrs. Dolia Gonzalez

Mother of Sgt. Alfredo Gonzalez

USMC and Medal of Honor recipient, KIA, Battle of Hue, Tet, 1968

Sunday 

MAY. 8

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am – 9:00 am


Departure

 

  • Hospitality room open daily from 7:00 am until 10 pm; closes 12pm on Sunday
  • Bobby Butler, Battalion Chaplain

REUNION AUCTION INFORMATION

Seth Wolfe Jr.

Chairman of the Committee

Again this year we will have a fundraising auction at the reunion. In the past these events have raised around $1500, a figure that we hope, with your support, to surpass this year. So we need your donated items to sell!


Donate anything that you think fellow 1/1’ers might like.

Handmade things, especially with Marine or 1/1emblems on them, always sell. But don’t just stick to that theme. If you think something is cool, others probably will too. We’re seeking a broad selection of items, in all price ranges. .

Donations can be physical things, but don’t have to be. You can donate services, such as legal help, tax prep or landscaping consultation. A few of you high rollers might want to donate a week or weekend at your ski, golfing, or Caribbean condos.

This will be a silent auction, not a live one. Starting when I get commitments, we’ll post the item list on our website, so everyone will know what’s being offered. We’ll also post the current high bids. At the reunion, the stuff will be out on display, each with a sheet that you can use to make last minute bids. At the designated “witching hour” the auction will close and high bidders will pay up and take their stuff.

To donate, you just need to let me know as soon as possible what you’re committing to give. Don’t ship the items to me, just bring them to the reunion. Anything too large to bring with you may be shipped directly to the Menger Hotel, with clear marking that it’s for the 1/1Vietnam reunion. The hotel has allowed us storage.

To donate, please contact me, Seth Wolfe, with the form below and Click to Send.


Let me know:

  • Description of the item
  • Your best guess as to its value
  • If there is a minimum bid we should accept for the item, please let me know what would be appropriate.


See you in Texas!

  • Seth Wolfe

Hotel Reservations

Hotel Rate: $129 before 4/4/22. 

After 4/4/22 room rate increases to $159.00 – $200.00 per day.  

 Menger Hotel 

204 Alamo Plaza

San Antonio, TX 78205

(210-223-4361)  

SOME OF OUR

2019 REUNION HIGHLIGHTS

WEDNESDAY 2019

ARRIVAL!

Arrival and Check-in at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

THURSDAY 2019

Luncheon

A lunch at Old Town with some old pals. 

FRIDAY 2019

MCRD and City Tour

Graduation/parade ceremony, lunch, and a city tour. This included Mountain Soledad and the National Veterans Memorial.

SATURDAY 2019

Battalion Banquet

Battalion meeting, auction, and banquet.

1st Marine Division 80th Anniversary Ceremony

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Roger B. Turner, Jr., the commanding general of 1st Marine Division, adds a streamer to the colors during the Division’s 80th Anniversary Ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 5, 2021. Campaign streamers are symbols and reminders of the sacrifice, service and a proud heritage the men and women of 1st Marine Division have demonstrated in battles and conflicts throughout Marine Corps history. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jailine L. AliceaSantiago)

Our Stories

47 Years Later – Reunion Reunites Hill 881 South Marines

June 18, 2021

My name is John Kaper and I attended my first 1/1 Marines Vietnam reunion in August 2015 at the Radisson Hotel in Washington, D.C. I was really looking forward to the reunion, as I was hoping to meet some of the Marines that I had served with in Charlie Company, as well as other 1/1 Marines. It was a wonderful and emotional experience visiting with other Vietnam veterans. That particular reunion honored 1/1 Marines KIA in Vietnam by dedicating our 1/1 memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

“When I saw all the photos, it was like a flashback”

One of the most popular events of the 1/1 reunions is the company luncheons, where members of the same companies get together. It is a time to reunite with Marines you served with, and meet people who shared the same dirt, rain, mud and experiences as you. At the Charlie Company luncheon, one of the Marines, a man named Bobbie Butler, who just happens to be our Battalion Chaplain, brought a big photo board with pictures of Hill 881 South. They showed members of 2nd Platoon moving out and off Hill 881 South as well as the surrounding hills and jungle. When I saw all the photos, it was like a flashback. They were so vivid, and brought back so many memories. It was like I was there yesterday.

“One of the 105’s landed only feet away from my squad”

I commented to Bobby Butler, who was in 2nd Platoon (I was in 3rd Platoon), that some of the photos showed the ridgeline that paralleled our hilltop on 881 South. The ridge was approximately 1500 meters west of our position and the NVA constantly fired mortars at us from the backside of the ridge. Periodically we would run patrols out toward the ridgeline, and on May 23,1968 we had a full company size operation to clear out the mortars. We had sporadic contact with the NVA that day and cleared out the mortar pits on the backside of the ridge. We found the pits with the mortars still neatly stacked inside them. About noontime all three platoons assembled on the side of the ridge facing our hilltop and took a break. Naturally we were all spread out to cover all directions as we had NVA around the area. Suddenly there was a series of loud explosions and concussions happening in quick succession from incoming. Our own 105’s had landed directly on top of our positions and seriously wounded at least 9 of our Marines. Most were from 2nd Platoon. I was a squad leader with 3rd Platoon and we were right next to 2nd Platoon at the time. One of the 105’s landed only feet away from my squad. Thankfully it was a dud. Didn’t go off.

We rushed over to 2nd Platoon to help with the wounded and get the medevacs going. I told Bobby Butler that I remembered one Marine had lost his leg and another looked like he was going to loose a foot. Unbelievably, he said that he was the Marine that looked like he was going to loose his foot. Luckily he did not, even though he had other serious injuries.

“I met the Marine who I had helped”

Forty-seven years later at the 1/1 reunion in Washington, D.C., I met the Marine who I had helped put on a chopper to get airlifted off that hillside. It was an unbelievable experience, one that I will never forget. Bobby Butler and I have stayed good friends and in contact since that reunion. Semper Fi Marines.

Bobby Butler

John Kaper

Bobby Butler Today

John Kaper

Charlie Company

Contact Us

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