Celebrating Heroes

Medal of Honor to be Awarded to First Living Recipient from Iraq War

Sources close to former Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia have confirmed that the White House will be upgrading Bellavia’s Silver Star for actions during the 2004 Battle of Fallujah to the Medal of Honor. The ceremony is scheduled for June 25th at the White House.

On November 10, 2004, which happened to be Bellavia’s 29th birthday, the United States was in the midst of one of the largest battles fought during the Global War on Terror. Bellavia was an infantryman and squad leader assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, or Task Force 2-2, and his unit was tasked with clearing a block of insurgents taking shelter in buildings in Fallujah.

Bellavia and four other soldiers entered the tenth of twelve buildings on the block and were immediately engaged by insurgents lying in-wait within. After exchanging small arms fire with the insurgents, Bellavia and his squad exited the building. They continued to take fire from the roof once outside and Bellavia called in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He then reentered the building alone and engaged the armed insurgents inside with small arms, grenades, and hand-to-hand combat.

The following is from Bellavia’s Silver Star citation:

“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.”

Bellavia left the Army in 2005 and documented his experience in “House to House: An Epic Memoir of War,” co-written with John R. Bruning and published in 2007. Bellavia’s actions were also partially captured on camera by Michael Ware, a journalist embedded with his platoon that night, and can be seen in Ware’s “Only the Dead,” a documentary on the Iraq War.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Chris Castellano

Christopher Castellano is a U.S. Army Veteran. He currently serves as a firefighter in New York City and, in his spare time, also operates Fittest Travel.

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