In 2004, on the day he turned 29, then-Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia charged into a darkened house in Fallujah, Iraq and fired his weapon at lurking insurgents as the squad he led scrambled outside.
“Staff Sgt. Bellavia single-handedly saved an entire squad, risking his own life to allow his fellow soldiers to break contact and reorganize when trapped by overwhelming insurgent fire.”
So reads the U.S. Army official narrative of the battle that first earned Bellavia a Silver Star medal, the military’s third most distinguished decoration.
On Tuesday, at a White House ceremony, that distinction was upgraded to the nation’s highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor.
Before draping the medal around Bellavia’s neck, President Trump praised him for defying almost certain death to free squad members trapped by enemy fire.
“Alone in the dark, David killed four insurgents and seriously wounded the fifth,” Trump declared, “saving his soldiers and facing down the enemies of civilization.”
The medal was a turn of events Bellavia says he had no role in bringing about.
We honor you, David Bellavia.