David Bellavia to Become Iraq War’s First Living MOH Recipient
Staff Sgt. David Bellavia was awarded a Silver Star for his actions in Iraq in 2004. Later in June, he will become the first living veteran to receive a Medal of Honor from Iraq after an upgrade of his medal, according to the Army Times. His colleagues worked with Rep Duncan Hunter, a Marine veteran, to obtain the upgrade for him.
Sgt David Bellavia served with Company A, Task Force 2-2, 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division as a squad leader. He left the Army in 2005 after 6 years. His actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Fallujah on November 10, 2004 earned him the Silver Star.
His Silver Star Citation reads in part:
On that date Sergeant Bellavia’s platoon was ordered to clear a block of 12 buildings from which Jihadists were firing on American forces. The first nine buildings were unoccupied, but were found to be filled with enemy rockets, grenade launchers and other kinds of weapons. When Bellavia and four others entered the tenth building, they came under fire from insurgents in the house. Other soldiers came to reinforce the squad and a fierce battle at close quarters ensued. Many American soldiers were injured from the gunfire and flying debris.
At this point, Sergeant Bellavia, armed with a M249 SAW gun, entered the room where the insurgents were located and sprayed the room with gunfire, forcing the Jihadists to take cover and allowing the squad to move out into the street. Jihadists on the roof began firing at the squad, forcing them to take cover in a nearby building.
Sergeant Bellavia then went back to the street and called in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to shell the houses. After this was done, he decided to re-enter the building to determine whether the enemy fighters were still active. Seeing a Jihadist loading an RPG launcher, Sergeant Bellavia gunned him down. A second Jihadist began firing as the soldier ran toward the kitchen and Bellavia fired back, wounding him in the shoulder. A third Jihadist began yelling from the second floor. Sergeant Bellavia then entered the uncleared master bedroom and emptied gunfire into all the corners, at which point the wounded insurgent entered the room, yelling and firing his weapon.
Sergeant Bellavia fired back, killing the man. Sergeant Bellavia then came under fire from the insurgent upstairs and the staff sergeant returned the fire, killing the man. At that point, a Jihadist hiding in a wardrobe in a bedroom jumped out, firing wildly around the room and knocking over the wardrobe. As the man leaped over the bed he tripped and Sergeant Bellavia shot him several times, wounding but not killing him.
Another insurgent was yelling from upstairs, and the wounded Jihadist escaped the bedroom and ran upstairs. Sergeant Bellavia pursued, but slipped on the blood-soaked stairs. The wounded insurgent fired at him but missed. He followed the bloody tracks up the stairs to a room to the left. Hearing the wounded insurgent inside, he threw a fragmentary grenade into the room, sending the wounded Jihadist onto the roof. The insurgent fired his weapon in all directions until he ran out of ammunition. He then started back into the bedroom, which was rapidly filling with smoke.
Hearing two other insurgents screaming from the third story of the building, Sergeant Bellavia put a choke hold on the wounded insurgent to keep him from giving away their position. The wounded Jihadist then bit Sergeant Bellavia on the arm and smacked him in the face with the butt of his AK-47. In the wild scuffle that followed, Sergeant Bellavia took out his knife and slit the Jihadist’s throat.
Two other insurgents who were trying to come to their comrade’s rescue, fired at Bellavia, but he had slipped out of the room, which was now full of smoke and fire. Without warning, another insurgent dropped from the third story to the second-story roof. Sergeant Bellavia fired at him, hitting him in the back and the legs and causing him to fall off the roof, dead. At this point, five members of 3d Platoon entered the house and took control of the first floor. Before they would finish off the remaining Jihadists, however, they were ordered to move out of the area because close air support had been called in by a nearby unit.
SSgt David Bellavia says for now, his job is to be a father and take care of his family. But he mentioned that if the need ever arose again for him to be called up to fight once more, he’d do it in a heartbeat. He authored a book called “House to House” in 2008.
Featured photo: screenshot via video