Medal of Honor Recipient
Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia was born, Nov. 10, 1975, in Buffalo, New York. The son of a successful dentist and the youngest of four boys, Bellavia grew up in western New York and attended Lyndonville Central High School and Houghton Academy. Bellavia enlisted in the U.S. Army as an infantryman in 1999. After One Station Unit Training, the Army assigned Bellavia to the Syracuse Recruiting Battalion; an assignment which allowed his infant son to receive the medical care he needed. In the summer of 2003, Bellavia’s unit deployed to Kosovo for nine months before receiving orders to deploy directly to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. From February 2004 to February 2005, Bellavia and the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, were stationed in the Diyala Province along the Iranian border. Throughout the year, his task force took part in the battles for Najaf, Mosul, Baqubah, Muqdadiyah and Fallujah. Bellavia left the Army in August 2005 and cofounded Vets for Freedom, a veteran advocacy organization that sought to separate politics from the warriors who fight in the field. Bellavia’s awards and decorations include the Medal of Honor, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, the National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, New York State’s Conspicuous Service Cross, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral “2,” the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral “2,” the Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge, Driver and Mechanics Badge and the NATO Medal.