David Bellavia

Staff Sergeant David Bellavia: First Living Medal of Honor Recipient from the Iraq War, Author of House to House

What does an Army squad leader do in a battlefield situation when his platoon encounters three floors of insurgents and is pinned with rooftop snipers firing away?

If you’re David Bellavia, you lead your team into action. David single-handedly saved his entire squad, risking his own life to allow his fellow soldiers to break contact and reorganize when trapped by overwhelming insurgent fire. He then voluntarily entered and cleared an insurgent strong point, killing four and seriously wounding another. His actions stand as a testament to those who put everything on the line as they do the grim work required to keep each other safe and alive on the battlefield.

David Bellavia is the only living recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah, Iraq. Bellavia has also received the Bronze Star Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. 

In this episode you will hear:

  • We not only have to live for ourselves and our families, but we have to remind people who our lost soldiers are, because they didn’t drop dead of a heart attack, or were killed by some misfortune or bad luck; they voluntarily chose to stand up when the bullets were coming and they voluntarily said “I’ll do this for you”.
  • Peer pressure makes you smoke cigarettes when you’re 11. Peer pressure can also make you charge a machine gun nest at Normandy beach. It all depends who your peers are.
  • When the voices in your head say quit — DON’T!
  • You really can’t appreciate life until you’ve gone through combat.
  • There’s no education like the United States military.
  • Never bring a hair dryer to basic training.
  • You can’t mourn on the battlefield.
  • In the case of fallen soldiers, we should exchange the word “memorialize” for the word “celebrate”.
  • America is still the shining city on the hill.

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