WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — For the first time, a living Iraq war veteran received the Medal of Honor.
“We honor your extraordinary service and salute your selfless service,” said President Trump to Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia.
Bellavia accepted the award on Tuesday from President Trump on behalf of those he served with in Fallujah.
“This is our award. We are treating it like it is our award. Their love and kindness really means the world to me,” said Bellavia.
On November 10, 2004, the platoon came under attack while on a mission.
“We were engaged by multiple insurgents and ended up pinned down under fire,” said Retired Sgt. 1st Class Colin Fitts.
Fitts credits Bellavia’s bravery for saving his life. War correspondent Michael Ware was embedded with the group and witnessed the heroic acts.
“Bellavia had to go back into a darkened nightmare of a house. Where he knew there were at least five or six suicidal jihadists waiting,” Fitts said.
Staff Sergeant Bellavia was originally awarded the Silver Star. Then after a review from the Defense Department, President Trump decided Bellavia’s actions deserved the nation’s highest honor for valor.
Now retired from the military, Bellavia said it’s his honor to have served our country and he hopes his story inspires future generations to serve as well.
“Whatever branch of service you chose, you are part of something special and a great institution, and you are going to make this country better,” he said.