Martin Joseph Canavan, Jr

Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States
24 October 1946 - 29 March 1969
Barstow, California
Panel 28W Line 078


Distinguished Service Cross

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Martin Joseph Canavan, Jr

13 Apr 2001

Staff Sergeant Martin Joseph Canavan, while serving with the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division, was killed in action on 29 March 1969, soon after Company A combat assaulted into an area that became LZ Jess. SSG Canavan was a Squad Leader in the 3rd Platoon. I was his Platoon Sergeant, and most of the time his Platoon Leader, while he was with Company A. SSG Canavan was an outstanding Soldier in every respect. He will never be forgotten and is sadly missed by me.

Alonzo Jones
467 Oak Hill Lane, Huntsville, TN 37756

28 May 2006

SSgt Martin J. Canavan
3rd Plt, A Company, 2/5
Phuoc Vinh Area
South Vietnam

From his best friend,
M. A. Lau

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The assault into LZ Jess cost Alpha 2/5 eight men, two of whom received posthumous awards of the Distinguished Service Cross:
  • SSG Martin J. Canavan, Barstow, CA (Dist Svc Cross)
  • CPL Kenneth J. Brenner, Hope, KS (Dist Svc Cross) (Medic, HHC w/ A/2/5)
  • SP4 Thomas L. Cottrell, Milwaukee, WI
  • SP4 Richard E. Griego, Santa Fe, NM
  • CPL Robert D. Lauber, Monica, IL
  • CPL James M. McKinley, Mc David, FL (Medic, HHC w/ A/2/5)
  • SP4 Charles R. Prchal, Sound Beach, NY
  • PFC Ronald R. Meyer, Seattle, WA

The President of the United States
takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States

for service as set forth in the following


For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Staff Sergeant Canavan distinguished himself by exceptional valorous actions on 29 March 1969 while leading a platoon involved in a mission in enemy dominated terrain in Tay Ninh Province. Having just made a combat assault into the area, Sergeant Canavan's company set up a defensive perimeter prior to constructing a landing zone. As the first supply helicopters approached the site, the enemy opened fire on the company with small arms, automatic weapons and rockets. After the initial barrage, Sergeant Canavan was placed in charge of the third platoon with instructions to assist the first and second platoons, who had received the brunt of the attack. He effectively emplaced his men to lay down protective fire under which the two threatened platoons could withdraw to safety. He then personally led a squad to remove the injured men in the killing zone. When increased bombardment forced his squad to pull back, he called in air strikes and artillery to silence the enemy. After organizing and leading an assault on the wood line, where the foe lay entrenched, he seized the opportunity offered by the advance to evacuate the wounded and dead who were stranded after the first attack. When the bodies had been removed and the wounded given emergency treatment, Sergeant Canavan pulled his troops back to avoid further casualties. In a last minute effort to reach another wounded comrade pinned down in the open by enemy fire Sergeant Canavan was struck down by intense enemy fire. Staff Sergeant Canavan's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his Platoon Sergeant/Platoon Leader,
Alonzo Jones
467 Oak Hill Lane, Huntsville, TN 37756 USA

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 13 Apr 2001
Last updated 06/03/2006