US upgrades soldiers Silver Star to Medal of Honor for actions in Fallujah
On his 29th birthday, back in 2004, Staff Sgt. David Bellavia almost single-handedly fought off a nest of insurgents during the second Battle of Fallujah, in Iraq.It is rare to have a medal upgraded like this. There is a video at the link above where Bellavia explains what prompted him to join the Army and engage in the fight with the terrorists.
Later this month, he’s set to see the Silver Star he received for that action upgraded to a Medal of Honor, which would make him one of now seven Operation Iraqi Freedom Medals of Honor, all which have been awarded posthumously to date.
The White House began reaching out to Bellavia’s friends about attending his ceremony this week, as first reported by The American Legion’s Burn Pit blog, and confirmed to Army Times by another individual familiar with the effort to upgrade Bellavia’s award, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
His actions date back to Nov. 10, 2004, when the squad leader with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, and his platoon set out to clear a block of buildings that had served as firing positions for jihadists during the battle.
Upon entering the 10th building, they were set upon by insurgents. Bellavia, carrying an M249 squad automatic weapon, briefly retreated outside to call in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle for back-up, then went back in and began clearing the building room by room.
He shot and killed four insurgents and wounded several others, before going hand-to-hand with one.
“Hearing two other insurgents screaming from the third story of the building, Sergeant Bellavia put a choke hold on the wounded insurgent to keep him from giving away their position,” according to the narrative from his Silver Star citation. “The wounded jihadist then bit Sergeant Bellavia on the arm and smacked him in the face with the butt of his AK-47. In the wild scuffle that followed, Sergeant Bellavia took out his knife and slit the Jihadist’s throat.”
Back-up arrived within minutes, but Bellavia’s men were ordered to get out of the building to make way for close air support.