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Trump awards highest military honor to Iraq War veteran

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    President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia pauses durning a ceremony at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, before receiving the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia speaks to media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, after receiving the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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    President Donald Trump applauds during a ceremony to award the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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    President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Published June 26. 2019 08:18AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday awarded the nation’s highest military honor to an Iraq War veteran who took on an insurgent stronghold and allowed members of his platoon to move to safety during heavy fighting in Fallujah.

The president presented the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia, of New York. He is the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the honor.

“That whole night in Fallujah. The entire thing is impossible to think about unless you’re talking about the men we lost,” Bellavia said after the ceremony. “Those men we think about every single day.”

Bellavia was leading a squad in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in November 2004. After helping his platoon escape fire, he entered a house and killed at least four insurgents who were firing rocket-propelled grenades, the White House said.

Bellavia, who left the Army in 2005, has been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross.

During the ceremony, Trump recounted the events that led to Bellavia’s honor. Trump said his squad was tasked with clearing 12 houses, and on the 10th house, insurgents opened fire, wounding multiple soldiers.

“David took over,” Trump said. “He provided suppressive fire, while his men evacuated, rescuing his entire squad at the risk of his own life. Only when his men were all out did David exit the building. But the fighting was far from over.”

Trump said Bellavia reentered the building, killing four and seriously wounding a fifth.

“Bleeding and badly wounded, David single-handedly defeated the forces who had attacked his unit and would have killed them all had it not been for the bravery of David,” Trump said.

Bellavia ran for Congress in 2012, losing to Rep. Chris Collins in the Republican primary, and was talked about as a potential successor to Collins when Collins temporarily suspended his reelection campaign last summer after being indicted on insider trading charges. Bellavia’s name is in play again as Collins, whose trial is pending, considers whether to run in 2020.

This is the ninth Medal of Honor that Trump has presented. The honor goes to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.

Comments
Thank you for your heroic act Sgt. Bellavia. Your deeds in combat will stand forever as a reflection on you as an individual and on your fine country as well. It is a shame that liberals are incapable of rising above partisanship to show dignity, honor, and respect for one brief moment to bestow gratitude upon you. Instead, you Joe, display rudeness and disrespect to a new low. You, Joe, are a selfish hater that is fully tone deaf. You put your warped propagation of hatred on a personal level above a stellar example of valor. You should be ashamed of yourself. This is why liberals like you Joe are lacking in respect. Of your military service...”I had some relatives that served.” You are a fraud Joe. You take a solemn heroic ceremony and p*ss on it with liberalism. In addition you are so ignorant you probably don’t even realize it. This is exactly why Trump Derangement Syndrome is a failed concept. You celebrate your own failures as you rudely insult epic successes.
trump has a lot of nerve. He's a coward and liar. Daddy trump bought little donny's way out of military service, now his filthy little paws have befouled the Medal of Honor forever. The medal may as well be available in a Cracker Jack box now. No class, no guts, no honor.
A new left wing hater. Hard to find your bias. Keep it up. How can you hate someone that you never even met...unless you have mental illness? Eric Trump was just spat upon by someone...are you ok with that? America is great! MAGA! It is one thing to offer polite social opinions. It is another thing to be insulting and rude. You must give respect first, if you ever want any in return.
Here we go! A cyber punk. Or maybe you're trump's mommy? I wasn't addressing you sweetheart. And, I don't want or need your respect. Now... shove another cinder block under the trailer Jethro and go back to beating your sister/wife.
T2C, being rude vulgar and insulting only makes you out to be a jerk. You are the “cyber punk” as you say. All of you bullies are alike, you have a big mouth that spouts insults. Post what your parents would be proud of. Take that big mouth down to the military recruiting center and see what you can do for your country. Also, be sure to capitalize the “T” in Trump as a sign of respect. I guess that you missed several lessons in respect in your upbringing. Your dad should spank your skinny a**. Keep it up! Talk about, no class, no guts, no honor. Look at you.
You're a laughing stock! The more you write the more you expose yourself as a fool. You play the turnabout game portraying yourself as the poor little victim. You are the bully. You just can't stand taking the same criticisms that you and your conservative brethren generously dished out during the Obama administration. So, as you all said during the 2016 campaign , "F##k your feelings"!
Suck it up buttercup, you get what you give. I'll thank you to discontinue your direct replies of HARRASSMENT!
T2C, the purpose of this site is for polite discourse. You display mental dysfunction when you are condescending, vulgar, and rude to someone that has a different opinion from you. For you to try to put words into my mouth indicates further dysfunction. As a point of fact, there were several things that I admired about President Obama. I disagreed with many of his policies. I gave President Obama respect, and in fact I cherish the time that I met him as one of the greatest moments of my life. A normal person is able to conduct themselves as an adult. You have a new President now. President Trump won a legitimate election 3 years ago. Who is the crybaby that cannot accept that now? Hypocrisy is great isn’t it? You are a hater that views polite, effective rebuke as an attack on your frail sensitive feelings. Maybe it is time for an emotional support bunny rabbit. If you can not see that America is a great country no matter who is President, then you need more help than a bunny to hug...sweetheart.

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