A veteran of the First Infantry Division is about to become the first living Medal of Honor recipient from the Iraq War- and his act of heroism took place fifteen years ago.
David Bellavia, a former US Army Staff Sergeant who served for six years, was hunting down insurgents during the second Battle of Fallujah in 2004 when his platoon was ambushed by combatants with belt-fed machine guns.
Armed with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, Bellavia left the room to call for support from a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, only to be faced with a decision: to stay outside or go back inside.
“I was the only guy in the situation that could actually do something,” the Big Red One veteran recounted. “It was a horrible moment in my life, but it was also something that I realized…that there was no going home at that point. Either I was going to lose my life, or I was going to lose my soul.”
Bellavia took the first step towards the house, his decision firmly made. Room by room, he cleared the building, killing four insurgents and wounding several others.
Suddenly, he was thrust into a melee combat situation with a wounded insurgent, who threatened to give away his position.
“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,” Bellavia’s Silver Star citation read of the incident. 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.”
Although reinforcements arrived, Bellavia’s platoon was ordered to leave the building for friendly air assets, who promised to make short work of the structure and those inside.
Bellavia was awarded the Silver Star for his heroic acts and left the Army behind him in 2005. His exploits were published in his memoirs, titled House To House: An Epic Memoir of War.
Several of Bellavia’s supporters, including California Republican Congressman and Iraq veteran Duncan Hunter, pushed for his Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, and it appears the wish has been granted.
According to the Army Times, the White House is expected to make an announcement on the matter within the week
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