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WNY native David Bellavia receives Medal of Honor



it's to award the highest military honour to an American soldier who demonstrated exceptional courage to protect his men and defend our nation this operation was the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war he just took over David took over bleeding and badly wounded David and single-handedly defeated the forces who had attacked his unit and would have killed them all had it not been for the bravery of David David today we honor your extraordinary courage we salute your selfless service and we thank you for carrying on the legacy of American valor you inspire us you are truly brave good evening once again it was a monumental day for a western New York war hero who just made history Iraq war veteran David Bellavia received the highest military honor from President Trump during a ceremony held in the East Room at the White House this recognition is for his bravery in the Second Battle of Fallujah in November of 2004 in Iraq the former staff sergeants actions saved the lives of a number of his platoon members as 7 Eyewitness News senior reporter Eileen Buckley shows us tonight Bellavia is the first living veteran from the Iraq war to receive the Medal of Honor I present the Congressional Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant David Bellavia 15 years ago David Bellavia worked to protect members of his platoon in Iraq they searched house-to-house in the city of Fallujah looking for the enemy when they were ambushed as bullets ripped through walls but that's when the 29 year old Bellavia went back inside by himself to protect other members of his units he entered into a dark house with several suicide jihads waiting it was where Bellavia lost 4 in his platoon during the intense gun battle but his actions saved more lives and today he became the first living veteran of the Iraq war to receive the Medal of Honor president Trump presented it to him at the White House as David remembers his grandfather stories were always vivid with source of pride and they were delivered very beautifully there was a nobility and purpose in the infantry and David saw that at a very young age I wanted to be what my grandfather was David would often say I wanted to be part of this noble adventure Bellavia did not speak at the ceremony but talked with reporters outside the White House we serve our country sometimes exceeding finds conditions of any generation the Iraq war veteran our provost of the benefit this entire thing is Bellavia was joined by the 12 men who were with him the night of the battle he was nominated for his top honor by his former company commander Colonel Doug Walter he nominated Bellavia in January of 2005 he said he knew the process could take years for consideration and was not sure why it came up for review [Applause] Bellavia who is now a talk show host for wven radio has voiced how humble he is by the top military honor he has written a book called house to house about his experience Bellavia encourages other men and women to serve their country and in never forgetting the men lost in his battle he said they quote died for us Eileen Buckley's 7 Eyewitness News

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