David Bellavia Becomes 1st Living Medal of Honor Recipient From Iraq War

June 26, 2019

© Sipa USA

On Tuesday, David Bellavia, 43, of Lyndonville, N.Y., became the first living American to receive the Medal of Honor for actions from the Iraq War. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest recognition for valor in combat. President Donald Trump presented the award at the White House as friends, family members and 32 people who served with Bellavia watched and cheered. Bellavia, who left the Army in 2005, is credited with braving enemy fire to free fellow soldiers from the kill zone, and reentering a house in the city of Fallujah to chase down and kill insurgents, including one in hand-to-hand combat with a knife. “Alone in the dark, David killed four insurgents and seriously wounded a fifth, saving his soldiers and facing the enemies of civilization,” President Trump said during the ceremony. Bellavia was previously awarded the Silver Star for his actions that day. “I walked into situations that were happening in real time, and I just had to react to it," Bellavia said. "And that’s exactly what I did.”