David Bellavia

Medal of Honor Recipient: David Bellavia

Keynote Speaker Sunday May 26, 2024 at 12:00pm

David Bellavia is the first and only living Iraq War veteran to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is our country's highest military honor. He was awarded this medal at the White House on June 25, 2019, surrounded by his family and every living member of his Task Force.

Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic efforts on Nov. 10, 2004, during the Third Battle in Fallujah — dramatic efforts that saved the lives of his unit members. He served three military campaigns: Kosovo 2003 and Operation Iraqi Freedom I and Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

Bellavia enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1999 and chose to stay and fight following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. That sense of duty was ingrained in Bellavia by his World War II veteran grandfather, who served in the Army during the Normandy Campaign. Bellavia returned home in 2005 and founded advocacy organization Vets for Freedom.

Bellavia returned to Iraq as an embedded reporter covering heavy fighting in 2006 and 2008, and in 2007 wrote and published House to House, a book detailing his experiences in Fallujah. His first book is considered one of the best first-hand military accounts ever written.  In 2022, he wrote and published Remember the Ramrods, his follow-up book chronicling his unit’s journey, examining the bonds and wounds of war across two decades, in an extraordinary reimagining of the military memoir.  

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Bellavia’s many awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, New York State Conspicuous Service Cross, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO Medal. He was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2005.

Bellavia is a Western New York native. Today he hosts his own weekday radio show and is active traveling the country as a speaker sharing the important message of service over self and as a sought-after source for national media.




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