In 1975 Staff Sgt David G. Belavia was born in Buffalo, New York where he grew up with three older brothers and with a father who was a dentist. He graduated high school in 1994 and went on to attend University at Buffalo, studying biology and theater.
Joining the Army
He joined the U.S. Army in 1999 as an infantryman. He was stationed at the Syracruse Recruiting Battalion. Due to his enlistment, his son got the care he needed.
In 2001, Bellavia had a choice to make. He could either choose to have hardship discharge, change his specialty, or go to Germany for 36 months and leave his family behind.
Then 9/11 happened. He decided that he needed to fight for his country. His grandfather, Joseph Brunacini, was in World War II and earned a Bronze Star for valor.
His unit was deployed to Kosovo in 2003 for nine months. He and his team were then sent to Iraq as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His team was tasked with clearing homes in Fallujah, a messy and hazardous affair.
In November, he was ambushed while clearing a home. He pursued the ambushers and fought with them. He took out a group of men single-handedly.
Out of The Army
In 2005, Bellavia separated from the Army and co-founded Vets for Freedom. He would return to Iraq as a reporter in 2006 and 2008 covering the fighting in Ramadi, Fallujah, and Diyala Province.
In 2007, he wrote a book about his time in Fallujah. On top of his book, he made guest appearances on news shows and his articles were published in national publications. These days Bellavia owns his own business in western New York where he lives. He has three kids.
During his time in the Army, he was highly decorated. He was given a Medal of Honor, 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, and Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, plus many more awards and distinctions.
In 2005, Bellavia was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame.