On June 25, 2019, retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump. Staff Sergeant Bellavia, 44, is the only living Iraq War veteran to receive the honor.
The following excerpt is shared from Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s Medal of Honor profile on the U.S. Army website.
Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia was a squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. Their mission on the night of Nov. 10, 2004, was to clear a block of 12 buildings, where it was thought six or more insurgents had taken shelter. A Bradley Fighting Vehicle was supposed to provide fire support, but a malfunction on its 25mm cannon meant the platoon would have to kill or capture the anti-Iraqi forces (AIF) without it.
After finding nothing in the first nine buildings, Bellavia’s platoon moved into the next compound, where they immediately came under fire from the front hallway. Two insurgents manning machine guns under a stairwell had been waiting to ambush the Soldiers as they attempted to clear the home. Moments later, more AIF opened fire from a window. The combined gunfire from the stairwell and the window meant the Soldiers were trapped.
Rounds from the insurgent weapons struck the walls and floor, and began wounding Soldiers. Two were bleeding from the face due to shattered glass, and another was grazed by a round to his stomach. Unless something happened quickly, the trapped Soldiers would die.