Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley repeatedly risked his life to rescue fellow Marines during the Vietnam War, so they felt it only right to fight for him. Thanks to their efforts, Canley will on Wednesday become the 300th Marine to receive the Medal of Honor, usually bestowed within five years of the recipient's brave act. In this case, it comes 50 years after the monthlong Battle of Hue in 1968. After his captain was wounded in the fighting, then-Gunnery Sgt. Canley took command of his company to fend off multiple enemy attacks over a week, reports ABC News. "On several occasions, despite his own wounds, he rushed across the fire-swept terrain to carry wounded Marines to safety," per a release.
That included twice climbing a wall unprotected so he could move wounded fighters to safety, reports Stars and Stripes, describing shrapnel injuries. Canley is also said to have been responsible for heavy Viet Cong casualties, per ABC. The 80-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., was awarded the Navy Cross, two Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart a decade before he retired in 1981. His latest honor comes after a lengthy review and required special legislation to waive the award's time limit. Canley thinks he was just doing his job. "I think if a Marine comes to you with a problem, you must do whatever within your power to alleviate that problem," he says. "It's about taking care of subordinates." (This recipient saved 10 over two days in Vietnam.)