June 11, 2019 06:16 PM
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WHEC) — President Donald Trump will award the nation’s highest military honor to a local Iraq War veteran, the White House announced Monday.
Former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia spoke in Cheektowaga Tuesday morning about how he'll soon become the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient.
He his dad was his hero; he lost him a year ago. The White House's announcement Monday came on what would have been his dad's 75th birthday.
"When I deployed, my dad would...he would type up play-by-plays of the Buffalo Bills games as if I had no access to get scores in the Army or anything else," Bellavia said. "But he would take the time to write me a six-page letter, single-spaced, on every play the Bills did and I would read these no matter where I was — coastal Germany or Iraq — and we just talked about the Bills no matter how bad the day."
Bellavia was leading a squad in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah on his 29th birthday in November 2004 when his platoon was pinned down by gunfire as he went from house to house. Bellavia engaged the insurgents, providing cover that allowed members of the platoon to exit safely. He later re-entered the house and killed at least four of the insurgents, who were firing rocket-propelled grenades.
“That remarkable day, then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia rescued an entire squad, cleared an insurgent strongpoint, and saved many members of his platoon from imminent threat,” the White House announcement said.
Bellavia was released from the Army in August 2005 after serving for six years and has been awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. Since then Bellavia has run for Congress, become an author and is a radio host for WBEN in Buffalo.
Trump will award Bellavia the Medal of Honor on June 25 in Washington, D.C.
Watch Bellavia's news conference in its entirety below:
Updated: June 11, 2019 06:16 PM
Created: June 11, 2019 09:30 AM
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