David Bellavia at The Pentagon/WBEN Photo

A humble David Bellavia on highest honor of them all

“I just want to say how absolutely grateful I am"

June 24, 2019 - 8:46 pm
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The Pentagon, (WBEN)  - “I just want to say how absolutely grateful I am that attention can be given to the men and women I served with in Iraq”.  Former Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, at a media roundtable at the Pentagon Monday afternoon.

VIEW/HEAR:  Complete Coverage of David Bellavia and Medal of Honor Week

Bellavia was flanked by battle brothers Col. Douglas Walter, Major Joaquin Meno, Retired Sergeant 1st Class Colin Fitts and journalist Michael Ware, who was embedded with Bellavia’s platoon in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. 

Ret Sgt. Fitts began his remarks by saying he would not be sitting here today, if not for the actions of SS Bellavia.  It did not surprise Fitts at all to learn that Bellavia would receive the Medal of Honor. “I assumed all along that this would end up being worthy of a Medal of Honor”.

Bellavia recounted for the national media how he cleared a house of insurgents that had pinned his platoon on November 10, 2004.  Once Bellavia secured the safety of his squad, he re-engaged with the enemy combatants, re-entered the house where enemy fire was located and proceeded to kill four enemy insurgents, and wounded a fifth.

Bellavia is the 1st living service member from the Iraq war to get the Medal of Honor.

Prior to Tuesday’s ceremony, Bellavia will meet privately with President Trump in the Oval Office. “I’ve thought about what I’m going to say and there have been a million edits,” said Bellavia.  “I’m just going to listen.  He’s the busiest man in the world, and most powerful man in the world. I don’t want to be a distraction.  I’m also going to bring some of the guys in with me, so they can meet the President,” he said.

The trip to Washington for members of Bellavia’s unit was possible thanks to a GoFundMe effort that was quickly put together last week.  In a matter of hours, the $20,000 goal was met thanks to generous donations that poured in from Western New Yorkers and people around the country.  As of Monday, June 24th, $50,000 was raised.  After paying the expenses of Bellavia’s war comrades, The Veterans Administration Stand Down will benefit from the donations.

“There are no words,” said Bellavia. “The relief on their faces, when they found out, that this was taken care of…there was so much emotion,” he said. “ The Stand Down is a great organization. They’re saving lives every day. And I’m so appreciative of Tim Wenger, Tom Bauerle and Sandy Beach. It’s like my second family.  I’m so grateful,” said Bellavia.

 

 

 

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