David Bellavia

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David Bellavia
Nickname(s)Bell
Born (1975-11-10) November 10, 1975 (age 43)
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1999-2005
RankStaff Sergeant
Unit2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Battles/warsIraq War
AwardsMedal of Honor
Silver Star
Bronze Star Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal

David Bellavia (born November 10, 1975) is an American Iraq War veteran who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah. Bellavia has also received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. In 2005, Bellavia was inducted into the New York Veterans' Hall of Fame.[1] He has subsequently been involved with politics in Western New York State. Bellavia was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He attended Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire and the University at Buffalo.[2] News broke on June 7, 2019 that his Silver Star Medal would be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, making him the lone surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Iraq War.

Military service[edit]

Bellavia enlisted in the United States Army in July 1999 and deployed to Iraq after serving in Kosovo.

The actions for which Bellavia earned a Silver Star took place on his 29th birthday. As a member of Company A, Task Force 2-2, 1st Infantry Division, his platoon was assigned during Operation Phantom Fury to clear a block of twelve buildings from which insurgents were firing on American forces. The platoon began searching house-to-house. At the tenth house, Bellavia fatally shot an insurgent preparing to load a rocket-propelled grenade. A second insurgent fired at him, and Bellavia wounded him in the shoulder. When Staff Sergeant Bellavia entered a bedroom, the wounded insurgent followed, forcing Bellavia to kill him. When another insurgent began firing from upstairs, Bellavia returned fire and killed him. A fourth insurgent then jumped out of a closet in the bedroom, yelling and firing his weapon as he leaped over a bed trying to reach Bellavia. The insurgent tripped and Bellavia wounded him. Bellavia chased the insurgent when he ran upstairs. He followed the wounded insurgent's bloody footprints to a room on the left and threw in a fragmentation grenade. Upon entering the room, Bellavia discovered it was filled with propane tanks and plastic explosives. He did not fire his weapon for fear of setting off an explosion and instead then engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the insurgent, which led to Bellavia killing the insurgent by stabbing him in the collarbone.

His actions in Fallujah were first documented in the November 22, 2004 Time magazine cover story, "Into the Hot Zone", by journalist Michael Ware, who was attached with Bellavia's unit during the fight.

After serving for six years, Bellavia left the service with the rank of Staff Sergeant in 2005.

On June 7, 2019, It was leaked to the media that Bellavia’s Silver Star would be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Bellavia was awarded the Silver Star for actions clearing houses during the Second Battle of Fallujah in November of 2004. The ceremony is set to take place on June 25th at the White House.[3][4][5]

Subsequent career[edit]

Bellavia [6] was Vice Chairman and co-founder of Vets for Freedom. He attended the 2006 State of the Union address as an honored guest. He currently is President of EMPact America, an American energy resiliency organization based in Elma, New York.

In 2007, Bellavia published a memoir, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, co-written with John R. Bruning.[7] In September 2010, the book was chosen as one of the top five best Iraq War memoirs by journalist Thomas Ricks (author of Fiasco).[8] In 2012, Bellavia signed an agreement with 2012 Oscar-winning producer Rich Middlemas to make his memoir into a major motion picture.[9]

Since leaving the U.S. Army, Bellavia has twice run for congress in New York's 26th congressional district.

In 2008, he ran in the Republican primary to succeed retiring representative Tom Reynolds. Bellavia dropped out of the race before the Republican Party ballot was finalized and endorsed Republican Chris Lee, who went on to win the seat.

When Lee resigned from office in 2011, Bellavia again tried for the seat. State party officials endorsed State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, so Bellavia launched an unsuccessful third-party bid, forming the "Federalist Party of New York" with political operatives that had previously been involved in the short-lived Taxpayers Party.[10] The New York State Tea Party announced their displeasure with the Republican party's choice of Corwin, and hinted that they might back Bellavia's run,[11] but the ruling of State Board of Elections that Bellavia's petition to be placed on the ballot was deficient ended his 2011 run.[12] Bellavia, in turn, endorsed perennial candidate Jack Davis, who likewise had been spurned by the Republicans during the endorsement process and was running on a third-party candidacy backed by a competing Tea Party faction.

Bellavia was a candidate in the 2012 GOP primary for the since-renumbered 27th congressional district of New York. Bellavia competed against Chris Collins, the former county executive of Erie County, for the Republican nomination. Buoyed by the endorsements of four of the five GOP county committees that endorsed, Bellavia and Collins faced off in a June 26, 2012 primary. Collins won both the primary and the general election even though Bellavia won six of NY 27th Congressional District's eight counties.

Bellavia joined the staff of WBEN in late 2012 as a fill-in host and became the station's permanent late-night host in October 2013.[13] Bellavia left the show on November 4, 2013.[14] Currently, Bellavia is working on his second book.

On October 31, 2016, Bellavia joined WBEN's Tom Bauerle as co-host Bauerle and Bellavia, a drive time talk show in Buffalo.[citation needed]

On August 11, 2018, Bellavia announced his candidacy for the NY 27th congressional district.[15] The incumbent, Christopher Collins, had suspended his reelection campaign just hours earlier amidst federal indictments for insider trading and wire fraud. Bellavia withdrew from the race August 21 after interviews, stating that he feared the electoral process would be corrupted by a court.[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Staff Sergeant David Bellavia". NY State Senate.
  2. ^ http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA460457
  3. ^ News, A. B. C. "Army veteran to become first living recipient of Medal of Honor for war in Iraq". ABC News.
  4. ^ Seck, Hope Hodge (June 10, 2019). "White House Makes It Official: Army Vet David Bellavia Will Receive Medal of Honor". Military.com.
  5. ^ "Iraq War veteran and former GOP candidate David Bellavia to receive Medal of Honor". Washington Examiner. June 9, 2019.
  6. ^ "Despite being afraid, Bellavia battles a house full of insurgents".
  7. ^ David Bellavia with John R. Bruning. House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, Free Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4165-7471-2
  8. ^ "Ricks' Picks: Best Books About War In Iraq", NPR, September 1, 2010
  9. ^ "Bellavia, filmmaker sign deal to make movie of war experience". Buffalo News. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  10. ^ "David Bellavia Takes Another Step Toward Run for Congress". Your News Now, Rochester.ynn.com. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  11. ^ McCarthy, Robert J. (22 February 2011). "Tea party may fight GOP over Lee's seat (updated)". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  12. ^ McCarthy, Robert J. (26 March 2011). "Bellavia campaign appears to be over". The Buffalo News.
  13. ^ Pergament, Alan (October 18, 2013). Top Gear episode shot here airs Oct. 29. The Buffalo News. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  14. ^ no explanation [1] "Entercom". Retrieved November 4, 2013
  15. ^ WHAM. "Iraq War veteran, radio host David Bellavia to run for 27th Congressional District".
  16. ^ WHAM. "David Bellavia not running for NY-27 Congressional seat".
  17. ^ Anstey, Evan (21 August 2018). "Bellavia no longer seeking to replace Chris Collins".

External links[edit]