Born in 1975, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia loved show tunes and theatre before he found himself on his 29th birthday leading the “Ramrods” of Coy A, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment as the Big Red One made its way through Fallujah. You see, he was in charge as his sergeant major, company commander and executive officer had all been cut down by enemy fire.
Charging into a tough what could politely be called a persistent strong point in the form of a multi-story house during the city fighting that took place there, he started off with an M249 and ended fighting room-to-room with guys jumping out of closets and getting super CQB on him at bad breath distances. In the end, he ended up falling back on a Gerber Gator to get out of there.
“I have had better birthdays, for sure,” Bellavia later said.
I read his book, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, then saw him speak at the Pritzker back in like 2009 and found his experience and the way he told it haunting.
The recipient of the Silver Star, SSG Bellavia, now 43, is set to the Iraq War’s first (living) Medal of Honor recipient.