Fallujah Army vet David Bellavia to be first living Medal of Honor recipient from Iraq War. Here’s why …

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A promotional graphic from David Bellavia’s Silver Star that is being upgraded to the Medal of Honor by the White House … Credit: US Army

On Friday, the Army Times broke the news that the Silver Star Staff Sgt. David Bellavia received for his heroic actions in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 is being upgraded to a Congressional Medal of Honor. The report, quickly picked up by several media outlets, was a bit of a departure from protocol, as the White House would normally be first to make such an announcement with a statement. The White House is expected to make the announcement sometime this week.

As luck would have it, Bellavia was at work as a radio talk show host on WBEN when those news reports started coming in, so the June 7 program called the “Bauerle and Bellavia Show” is an especially interesting audio file to give a listen to. During the program, it was revealed that the news was not a surprise to Bellavia, essentially confirming that he was aware it was in the works.

What was a surprise was how the news broke.

Click and listen to the absolutely compelling, wonderful audio of news radio host David Bellavia as news reports started coming in that he was being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by the White House.

While on the air, Bellavia was reluctant to speak specifically about the Medal of Honor before the official White House press release goes out but he did talk about the courage associated with the medal in general, whether exhibited by him or others. He told his radio co-host  Tom Bauerle that such valor is rooted in love of country, the military, and fellow soldiers.

“That’s the building block of anything you do in a combat zone,” he said. “That love makes you do things you would not ordinarily do. I am super proud of that part of my life.”

The former Army staff sergeant will be the first living Medal of Honor recipient from the Iraq War, and as such, he will become very much in demand all over the country as a speaker.

Bellavia has already become a prominent figure in Western New York, according to Stars and Stripes … not only as a radio personality, but on account of a futile GOP primary run for the House of Representatives in 2012, his high-profile advocacy for veterans causes, and his conservative talk-show opinions.

Bellavia was already being mentioned as a potential Republican congressional candidate next year, according to the Stars and Stripes, but being a Medal of Honor recipient would seem to guarantee his success if he decides to indeed take that path.

Bellavia’s Silver Star citation, for heroism on Nov. 10, 2004 in Fallujah reads like the script of a blockbuster movie …

“… 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.”

Remember the name … Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia–heroic soldier, conservative, and perhaps one of the guys destined to help clean out the swamp. Hooah!


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