David Bellavia is the first and only living Iraq veteran to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is our country's highest military honor. He was awarded this medal at the White House on June 25, 2019, surrounded by his family and every living member of his Task Force.
Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic efforts on Nov. 10, 2004, during the Third Battle in Fallujah — dramatic efforts that saved the lives of his unit members. He served three military campaigns: Kosovo 2003 and Operation Iraqi Freedom I and Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
Bellavia enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1999 and chose to stay and fight following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. That sense of duty was ingrained in Bellavia by his World War II veteran grandfather, who served in the Army during the Normandy Campaign. Bellavia returned home in 2005 and founded advocacy organization Vets for Freedom and in 2019 founded Deuce Deuce Relief Fund, which supports the soldiers of his former Task Force 2-2 in Iraq.
Bellavia returned to Iraq as an embedded reporter covering heavy fighting in 2006 and 2008, and in 2007 wrote and published House to House, a book detailing his experiences in Fallujah. His book is considered one of the best first-hand military accounts ever written.
Bellavia’s many awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, New York State Conspicuous Service Cross, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO Medal. He was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2005.
Bellavia is a Western New York native. He is a 1994 graduate of Lyndonville High School in Orleans County and studied biology and theater at the University of Buffalo.
Today he is active traveling the country as a speaker sharing the important message of service over self and as a sought-after source for national media.