White House Announces New Medal of Honor for Iraq War

The Army Times has just announced that the White House is intending to upgrade the Silver Star that SSG David Bellavia received for actions he performed during the second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004, to the Medal of Honor. If confirmed, it would mean that SSG Bellavia would be the only living Medal of Honor recipient for the Iraq War.

This soldier is about to be the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient
By: Meghann Myers   4 hours ago

On his 29th birthday, back in 2004, Staff Sgt. David Bellavia almost single-handedly fought off a nest of insurgents during the second Battle of Fallujah, in Iraq.

Later this month, he’s set to see the Silver Star he received for that action upgraded to a Medal of Honor, which would make him one of now seven Operation Iraqi Freedom Medals of Honor, all which have been awarded posthumously to date.

The White House began reaching out to Bellavia’s friends about attending his ceremony this week, as first reported by The American Legion’s Burn Pit blog, and confirmed to Army Times by another individual familiar with the effort to upgrade Bellavia’s award, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

Two Army spokespeople declined to confirm the upcoming award. Per protocol, the White House is the first office to make Medal of Honor announcements.

His experiences in Fallujah inspired his 2008 memoir “House to House.”

His actions date back to Nov. 10, 2004, when the squad leader with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, and his platoon set out to clear a block of buildings that had served as firing positions for jihadists during the battle.

Upon entering the 10th building, they were set upon by insurgents. Bellavia, carrying an M249 squad automatic weapon, briefly retreated outside to call in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle for back-up, then went back in and began clearing the building room by room.

“Hearing two other insurgents screaming from the third story of the building, Sergeant Bellavia put a choke hold on the wounded insurgent to keep him from giving away their position,” according to the narrative from his Silver Star citation. “The wounded jihadist then bit Sergeant Bellavia on the arm and smacked him in the face with the butt of his AK-47. In the wild scuffle that followed, Sergeant Bellavia took out his knife and slit the Jihadist’s throat.”

Back-up arrived within minutes, but Bellavia’s men were ordered to get out of the building to make way for close air support.

Bellavia’s is one of less than 100 valor awards to be upgraded after a 2016 Defense Department review of more than 1,300 Global War on Terror combat-earned awards.

He left the Army in 2005, but in the years since, supporters have mounted a campaign to get that Silver Star upgraded, an effort support by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a Marine Corps veteran and then a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

An announcement from the White House is expected within the week, the individual told Army Times.
SSG Bellavia.JPG
 
I met him right after Fallujah, good guy and a great honor for him.

Personally I believe the dearth of such awards for valor was due to Cheney and Rumsfeld not wanting a LIVE MoH awardee to say something not approved about the war
 
I never met him, but it sounds as if he is a straight shooter. (No pun intended.) A well deserved award, I'm sure.
 
@Ruckerwocman @Goldbricker, Out of interest who decides that an award should be upgraded and what’s the process? I also don’t get the jumping of levels with some upgrades from silver star straight to MofH and missing out of the DSC is there a reason behind it?
 
@Ruckerwocman @Goldbricker, Out of interest who decides that an award should be upgraded and what’s the process? I also don’t get the jumping of levels with some upgrades from silver star straight to MofH and missing out of the DSC is there a reason behind it?
Well, as it says in the article, there was a Defense Department review in 2016. Bellavia’s is one of less than 100 valor awards to be upgraded after this review of more than 1,300 Global War on Terror combat-earned awards. Why his Silver Star was picked to be upgraded to a Medal of Honor instead of a DSC I have no idea, but it certainly didn't hurt to have a Congressman supporting the review and upgrade. There was certainly enough evidence to convince the MoH board that there was justification to approve the upgrade award.

This is not unlike the case of the Air Force Combat Controller Tech Sergeant John Chapman who received posthumously the Air Force Cross for his actions at the Battle of Roberts Ridge in Afghanistan in 2002. New drone footage taken during the battle led the Air Force Secretary to recommend the lesser award be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. The request was approved and the award was made in 2018. You can read about it at this link to the article in the Air Force Times.

Fallen Air Force combat controller to receive Medal of Honor for 2002 Battle of Roberts Ridge
 
@Ruckerwocman @Goldbricker, Out of interest who decides that an award should be upgraded and what’s the process? I also don’t get the jumping of levels with some upgrades from silver star straight to MofH and missing out of the DSC is there a reason behind it?
Administrative boondoggles, some politics for sure. The Dearth of Iraq awards led to questions that men were being given niggardly rewards for gallantry because of fears they would be not cheering for war like rumsfeld. So review boards go through records to right wrongs..

It was done for the Nisei and Blacks of WW2, for a Korean war Cpl who's multiple recommendations were trashed because he was a Jew (and holocaust survivor of Mauthausen KL) and his senior NCO Hated Jews. CPL. Tibor Rubin

there was a Platoon Sergeant whose BFV caught fire in an IED strike in Samarra in 2005 and while covered in fuel he willingly went back in to save his crew ,and was hideously burned before dying at Walter Reed 6 weeks later. He was only awarded a Silver Star

SFC Alwyn Cashe
 
[QUOTE="Goldbricker, post: 9320191, member: ]
there was a Platoon Sergeant whose BFV caught fire in an IED strike in Samarra in 2005 and while covered in fuel he willingly went back in to save his crew ,and was hideously burned before dying at Walter Reed 6 weeks later. He was only awarded a Silver Star

SFC Alwyn Cashe[/QUOTE]

That’s pretty similar to an action I am aware of, I worked in Baghdad with some lads who had been in C Company 2nd Battalion 505 PIR and while we were there C Company were in Sammara and lost a few blokes one being Sgt Andrew Perkins who was awarded a silver star when I read the citation my imeadiate reaction was that’s VC worthy why no MofH
 
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[QUOTE="Goldbricker, post: 9320191, member: ]
there was a Platoon Sergeant whose BFV caught fire in an IED strike in Samarra in 2005 and while covered in fuel he willingly went back in to save his crew ,and was hideously burned before dying at Walter Reed 6 weeks later. He was only awarded a Silver Star

SFC Alwyn Cashe
That’s pretty similar to an action I am aware of, I worked in Baghdad with some lads who had been in C Company 2nd Battalion 505 PIR and while we were there C Company were in Sammara and lost a few blokes one being Sgt Andrew Perkins who was awarded a silver star when I read the citation my imeadiate reaction was that’s VC worthy why no MofH[/QUOTE]

I think it has more to do with certain politicians egos being severely wounded. Being critical off trying to spread Democracy in a culture that is not ready for it, does not go well when one is higher up in the food chain.
 

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