David Bellavia

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David Bellavia, Medal of Honor Nominee
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David Bellavia, Medal of Honor Nominee
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David Bellavia (born November 10, 1975) is an American Iraq War veteran who was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah. Bellavia has also received the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He has also been nominated for the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. In 2005, Bellavia was inducted into the New York Veterans' Hall of Fame.[1] He has subsequently been involved with politics in Western New York State. Bellavia was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He attended Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire and the University at Buffalo.[2]

Military service[edit]

Bellavia enlisted in the United States Army in July 1999 and deployed to Iraq after serving in Kosovo.

The actions for which Bellavia earned a Silver Star took place on his 29th birthday. As a member of Company A, Task Force 2-2, 1st Infantry Division, his platoon was assigned during Operation Phantom Fury to clear a block of twelve buildings from which insurgents were firing on American forces. The platoon began searching house-to-house. At the tenth house, Bellavia fatally shot an insurgent preparing to load a rocket-propelled grenade. A second insurgent fired at him, and Bellavia wounded him in the shoulder. When Staff Sergeant Bellavia entered a bedroom, the wounded insurgent followed, forcing Bellavia to kill him. When another insurgent began firing from upstairs, Bellavia returned fire and killed him. A fourth insurgent then jumped out of a closet in the bedroom, yelling and firing his weapon as he leaped over a bed trying to reach Bellavia. The insurgent tripped and Bellavia wounded him. Bellavia chased the insurgent when he ran upstairs. He followed the wounded insurgent's bloody footprints to a room on the left and threw in a fragmentation grenade. Upon entering the room, Bellavia discovered it was filled with propane tanks and plastic explosives. He did not fire his weapon for fear of setting off an explosion and instead then engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the insurgent, which lead to Bellavia killing the insurgent by stabbing him in the collarbone with a Gerber pocketknife.[3]

His actions in Fallujah were first documented in the November 22, 2004 Time magazine cover story, "Into the Hot Zone", by journalist Michael Ware, who was attached with Bellavia's unit during the fight.

After serving for six years, Bellavia left the service with the rank of Staff Sergeant in 2005.

Subsequent career[edit]

Bellavia lives in Batavia, New York[3] and is Vice Chairman of Vets for Freedom. He attended the 2006 State of the Union address as an honored guest.

In 2007, Bellavia published a memoir, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, co-written with John R. Bruning.[4] In September 2010 the book was chosen as one of the top five best Iraq War memoirs by journalist Thomas Ricks (author of Fiasco).[5] In 2012 Bellavia signed an agreement with 2012 Oscar-winning producer Rich Middlemas to make his memoir into a major motion picture, due out in 2014.[6]

Since leaving the U.S. Army, Bellavia has twice run for congress in New York's 26th congressional district.

In 2008, he ran in the Republican primary to succeed retiring representative Tom Reynolds. Bellavia dropped out of the race before the Republican Party ballot was finalized and endorsed Republican Chris Lee, who went on to win the seat.

When Lee resigned from office in 2011, Bellavia again tried for the seat. State party officials endorsed State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, so Bellavia launched an unsuccessful third-party bid, forming the "Federalist Party of New York" with political operatives that had previously been involved in the short-lived Taxpayers Party.[7] The New York State Tea Party announced their displeasure with the Republican party's choice of Corwin, and hinted that they might back Bellavia's run,[8] but the ruling of State Board of Elections that Bellavia's petition to be placed on the ballot was deficient ended his 2011 run.[9] Bellavia, in turn, endorsed perennial candidate Jack Davis, who likewise had been spurned by the Republicans during the endorsement process and was running on a third-party candidacy backed by a competing Tea Party faction.

Bellavia was a candidate in the 2012 GOP primary for the since-renumbered 27th congressional district of New York. Bellavia competed against Chris Collins, the former county executive of Erie County, for the Republican nomination. Collins won both the primary and the general election.

Bellavia joined the staff of WBEN in late 2012 as a fill-in host and became the station's permanent late-night host in October 2013.[10] Bellavia was let go from WBEN on November 4, 2013.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nysenate.gov/story/staff-sergeant-david-bellavia
  2. ^ http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA460457
  3. ^ a b http://www.americanvalor.net/heroes/1848
  4. ^ David Bellavia with John R. Bruning. House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, Free Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4165-7471-2
  5. ^ "Ricks' Picks: Best Books About War In Iraq", NPR, September 1, 2010
  6. ^ "Bellavia, filmmaker sign deal to make movie of war experience". Buffalo News. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "David Bellavia Takes Another Step Toward Run for Congress". Your News Now, Rochester.ynn.com. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  8. ^ McCarthy, Robert J. (22 February 2011). "Tea party may fight GOP over Lee's seat (updated)". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  9. ^ McCarthy, Robert J. (26 March 2011). "Bellavia campaign appears to be over". The Buffalo News. 
  10. ^ Pergament, Alan (October 18, 2013). Top Gear episode shot here airs Oct. 29. The Buffalo News. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  11. ^ no explanation[1] "Entercom". Retrieved November 4, 2013

External links[edit]