Live at 3:30 p.m. EST – President Trump presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt David Bellavia for his actions on Nov 10, 2004, while serving as a squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq.
Bellavia is the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the award.
“During Operation Phantom Fury in 2004, Bellavia’s platoon was pinned down while clearing a block of houses. Bellavia then exchanged his M16 rifle for an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and entered the house where his squad was trapped to provide cover fire so the soldiers could exit safely,” the White House said.
“That remarkable day, then-Staff Sergent Bellavia rescued an entire squad, cleared an insurgent strongpoint, and saved many members of his platoon from imminent threat,” the White House said.
Bellavia currently has his own daily radio talk show for WBEN in Buffalo, New York and continues to serve the military and veteran communities through several philanthropic organizations, according to the White House.
Friday, on his talk show, he reportedly described the experience of being chosen for the Medal of Honor as “very uncomfortable and awkward,” but noted that he wants to represent Iraq War veterans, who have not had a living Medal of Honor recipient.