For this Fourth of July post of the day we’re taking a step away from our usual use-of-force legal content and taking the opportunity recognize Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia, who received this award personally from President Trump at a White House ceremony on June 25, 2019.
Following his receipt of the Medal of Honor at this ceremony Staff Sergeant Bellavia then gave a roughly 16-minute speech to those assembled. The video and audio of that speech constitute the bulk of this post, and I hope you enjoy it.
My only further addition to this post is to recite Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s Medal of Honor citation:
Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on November 10, 2004, while serving as squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. While clearing a house, a squad from Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s platoon became trapped within a room by intense enemy fire coming from a fortified position under the stairs leading to the second floor. Recognizing the immediate severity of the situation, and with disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Bellavia retrieved an automatic weapon and entered the doorway of the house to engage the insurgents. With enemy rounds impacting around him, Staff Sergeant Bellavia fired at the enemy position at a cyclic rate, providing covering fire that allowed the squad to break contact and exit the house. A Bradley Fighting Vehicle was brought forward to suppress the enemy; however, due to high walls surrounding the house, it could not fire directly at the enemy position. Staff Sergeant Bellavia then re-entered the house and again came under intense enemy fire. He observed an enemy insurgent preparing to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at his platoon. Recognizing the grave danger the grenade posed to his fellow soldiers, Staff Sergeant Bellavia assaulted the enemy position, killing one insurgent and wounding another who ran to a different part of the house. Staff Sergeant Bellavia, realizing he had an un-cleared, darkened room to his back, moved to clear it. As he entered, an insurgent came down the stairs firing at him. Simultaneously, the previously wounded insurgent reemerged and engaged Staff Sergeant Bellavia. Staff Sergeant Bellavia, entering further into the darkened room, returned fire and eliminated both insurgents. Staff Sergeant Bellavia then received enemy fire from another insurgent emerging from a closet in the darkened room. Exchanging gunfire, Staff Sergeant Bellavia pursued the enemy up the stairs and eliminated him. Now on the second floor, Staff Sergeant Bellavia moved to a door that opened onto the roof. At this point, a fifth insurgent leapt from the third floor roof onto the second floor roof. Staff Sergeant Bellavia engaged the insurgent through a window, wounding him in the back and legs, and caused him to fall off the roof. Acting on instinct to save the members of his platoon from an imminent threat, Staff Sergeant Bellavia ultimately cleared an entire enemy-filled house, destroyed four insurgents, and badly wounded a fifth. Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s bravery, complete disregard for his own safety, and unselfish and courageous actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
America is blessed to be served by such citizens.
And with that, here’s Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s brief speech at his Medal of Honor ceremony. I trust you enjoy it as much as I did.
Again, America is blessed to be served by citizens such as Staff Sergeant Bellavia.
That’s all I have for today folks, so please go enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July, appreciating the great fortune of all of us in being citizens of the greatest nation to ever exist upon the face of the earth.
Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC