United States President
United States of America

We, the undersigned, call upon the President of the United States to bestow the Medal of Honor on Will Cannon for his gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty on July 18, 1965.

On July 21, 1965, General George Simler prepared a Nomination, but it was lost in military channels and has never been heard from again. Due to the hostile public opinion about the Vietnam War, Will did nothing to further his Nomination, but his Dad and other family members, and other friends have kept up the fight to have this honor awarded to him.

Below is a narration of the events of July 18, 1965, as recounted by General George Simler in his Nomination of Will Cannon for the Congressional Medal of Honor.


21 July 1965

This nomination of First Lieutenant William P,. Cannon, 63766A, for the Medal of Honor arises out of his having distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the case of duty on 18 July 1965. On that day, I left my office at Headquarters, 2nd Air Division located at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, in my staff car, for the purpose of seeking additional housing for my incoming senior Air Force officers, this housing being necessitated by our recent buildup of forces. The staff car was being driven by my Vietnamese civilian driver, Mr. Tau. I sat in the left rear seat, my aide-de-camp, First Lieutenant William P. Cannon, was in the right rear seat.

As we checked house after house we neared the outskirts of Saigon and found ourselves in an area with which I am unfamiliar. It was approaching dusk, and we were travelling down a narrow road, more highway than street. At this time, my staff car was motioned to a halt by two Vietnamese men wearing the uniform of the Q.C. (Vietnamese M.P.) who were armed with what appeared to be American M-16 rifles. The two men dressed as Q.C. spoke rapidly to my Vietnamese driver in Vietnamese. I do not speak Vietnamese, so I do not know what was said, however, my driver suddenly bolted out of the car door and into the ditch running along the left side of the road.

It was shocking enough to see my driver run like he did so suddenly, but I was even more shocked when I looked to the right front of the staff car (approximately 30 feet ahead and to the right of the car) and saw two Viet Cong swing a 30 caliber machine gun with a tripod up onto a little embankment on the far side of the right hand ditch. They were obviously setting up the machine gun to fire on my staff car. These two men were joined immediately at the crest of the embankment by 10 to 15 other Viet Cong bearing rifles. They were all dressed in black pajamas, and a few wore helmets. It was an ambush, and we were greatly outnumbered.

It was at this point that Lt. Cannon began to distinguish himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the certain risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty, for I was convinced at that moment that he was going to his own death. (It should be born in mind that Lt. Cannon is not my bodyguard, but merely my aide-de-camp. However, Lt. Cannon has spent the past six months stationed at Bien Hoa with the Air Commandos, and he is much more attuned to rapid action than I am.) However, to continue, I should point out that about one month ago I had had mounted on the back of the front seat of my staff car a rifle rack in which I keep a loaded double barreled shotgun. Lt. Cannon grabbed this shotgun and, without the slightest hesitation, rolled out the right rear door of the staff car with it. With a single blast he killed the two Viet Cong who were manning the machine gun, taking one man’s head completely off.

Lt. Cannon immediately fired off the other shotgun round as he rolled into the ditch, killing another one of the attacking Viet Cong. By this time, Lt. Cannon had out his 38 caliber service revolver, and he cleanly killed two more of the on-coming Viet Cong. This sudden depletion in their ranks caused the remaining 10 or so Viet Cong to take cover behind the embankment.

Lt. Cannon began to yell at Mr. Tau, my driver, to get back in the staff car and drive me back to Tan Son Nhut. Mr. Tau was afraid to move. Finally, after shooting another Viet Cong in the face as he peeped over the embankment, Lt. Cannon dashed across the road to the left ditch, grabbed Mr. Tau by the scruff of the neck, and threw him back into the driver’s seat of the staff car. The car squealed out of the turmoil, leaving Lt. Cannon to deal with the Viet Cong on his own.

As we pulled away, I observed and heard a hand grenade explode in the right hand ditch where Lt. Cannon had been only seconds before. I also observed through the rear window as Lt. Cannon shot yet another Viet Cong across the road.

About an hour later, as a rescue mission was being organized, Lt. Cannon made his way back to his duty station at Tan Son Nhut. He reported to me that the Viet Cong had evidentially been panicked by the sudden depletion in their ranks and had retreated back into the shadows of Saigon shortly after I left the scene of the battle.

I can honestly say that in all my years in the United States Air Force I have never before seen an individual of any rank conduct himself with such selfless individual courage and with such complete disregard for his own life and safety. I am absolutely certain that Lt. Cannon saved the life of this Air Force General Officer on this occasion, as well as saving the life of the Vietnamese civilian, Mr. Tau. Lt. Cannon’s actions were in the highest traditions of the United States Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of this his country.”


We, the undersigned, call upon the President of the United States to bestow the Medal of Honor upon William "Will" Cannon for his service in the Vietnam War.

Specifically, we ask that his Nomination dated July 21, 1965, and signed by USAF General George Simler be confirmed and he be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

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The Will Cannon, An Unrecognized War Hero petition to United States President was written by Brenda Edwards and is in the category Military at GoPetition.