David Bellavia receives the Medal of Honor for his actions in a ‘house of nightmares’
STARS AND STRIPES
By COREY DICKSTEIN
Published: June 25, 2019
WASHINGTON — Pinned down inside a pitch-black, insurgent-filled house in the early days of the second battle of Fallujah, Staff Sgt. David Bellavia grabbed a heavy M249 automatic machine gun from another soldier and charged forward into oncoming fire from enemy fighters hunkered down in a stairwell.
The enemy fighters froze, ducking away from Bellavia’s fire just long enough for his squad to escape the building and regroup outside. Moments later, with his fellow soldiers outside, the infantryman from Buffalo, N.Y, burst back into the building — eventually killing four insurgents and gravely wounding another.
Nearly 15 years later, Bellavia stood stoically Tuesday as President Donald Trump placed the Medal of Honor around his neck for his actions that night — Nov. 10, 2004, his 29th birthday. The former infantryman who left the Army in 2005 never cracked a smile during the White House ceremony, sharing only telling nods with more than a dozen of the men with whom he served. Along with his family, the men joined him on the East Room stage and a packed audience roared and applauded.
Many of those men would not have made it to the White House on Tuesday if it were not for Bellavia and his “exceptional courage to protect his men and defend our nation,” against an enemy “that would have killed them all had it not been for David,” Trump said.
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From the White House