Medal of Honor Ceremony at White House CSPAN June 25, 2019 6:32pm-6:59pm EDT
and russia, we can see that these are the big emerging forces that we have to deal with . >> is in it pretty smart for the president to have good relationships with the leaders? okay. isn't that a smart thing? >> okay, i take comfort from the fact that these people are all talking to each other. >> this weekend on both tv on cspan-2. >> president trump awarded the medal of honor today's army veteran david ballo via for his actions in iraq back in 2004. he's the first iraq war veteran to receive the honor was the life. -- while still alive.
♪ >> ladies and gentlemen please join me as we mark this ceremony and award of prayer. the lord is my light and my salvation and who myself here. the lord is the stronghold of my life and of whom i shall be afraid. righteous, just and loving god, today we gather to honor the spirit of a warrior who put other safety above their own and ran towards danger meeting you face-to-face. we give thanks for staff sergeant david villa via in the example of heroism his ear and shone bright in the darkest hours of battle for his character, commitment and courage were revealed in a moment but forged over a lifetime by his faith, family, and friends. a disciplined life of selfless devotion to duty, god bless david, his family, and his many comrades in arms
this very day. let his life, legacy and indeed this very metal placed around his neck be an inspiration for all to face our fears and place others over self. i pray these things in your mighty and most holy and gracious name, amen. >> thank you very much. thank you chaplain very much. so beautiful. today it's my privilege to award the highest military honor to an american soldier who demonstrated exceptional courage to protect his men and defend our nation. would you please join me in welcoming staff sergeant david villa via. david? [ cheering and applause ]
. >> david is the first recipient to receive a metal of bravery in the iraq war who is still living. we are honored to have with us distinguished leaders of our military and we want to recognize acting deputy secretary of defense, david norquist. david, thank you very much and congratulations. acting secretary of the army, ryan mccarthy, come here ryan, i like to say hello to you. [ laughter ] >> i just happened yesterday so
i have to figure out. congratulations . >> vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general paul selden. thank you paul . >> army chief of staff general, mark millie. thank you mark. and sergeant major of the army, daniel dailey. thank you, daniel very much. thanks as well to members of congress who join us representative lives chaney -- liz cheney, chris collins, thank you chris. >> dan crenshaw, tom reed, thank you. >> i see you over there, tom. thank you very much. joining david for the special ceremony is his wife deanna and three children, evan, aiden and vivian, along with his mother marilyn and his brothers daniel
and rand, i want to thank you all for being here it's a special day for you, for all of us, for the nation. [ applause ] david's father, when he passed away in 2017 and is no longer with us but we know that today he must be one of those proud dads, looking down upon us from heaven and is very proud of his son and his son's family, i have to say that, thank you david. >> finally we are gratified to be joined by a previous medal of honor recipients and, do i have to tell you have got to know just about all of them and you are forever with us, you inspire us, you are truly brave and great people. thank you very much for being here. [ applause ] brave people.
>> david grew up in western new york and was the youngest of four children. as a boy he would listen to stories from his grandfather a world war ii veteran and hero in his own right who earned a bronze star in the normandy campaign i just came back from normandy, that was something. as david remembers his grandfather stories were always vivid the sources of pride and were delivered beautifully. there was a nobility and purpose in the infantry and david saw that at all light young age and i wanted to be what my grandfather was and david would all say i want to be part of this noble adventure, it's a good quote, wouldn't you say? [ laughter ] >> in 1999, david followed the example and join the united states army infantry in several months after the september 11 attack at our nation david
deployed saying goodbye to his wife and his son and served in germany, co-seville and then in iraq. in november 2004 after nearly one year of intense enemy combat, david led his squad into battle to liberate the city of falluja, and anti-iraq forces. that was a tough place. this operation was the bloodiest battle of the iraq war. for three days straight david and his men kicked down doors, search houses and destroyed enemy weapons, never knowing where they would find a terrorist lurking next and there were plenty of them. the third day of battle was november 10 and david's 29th birthday. that night his squad was tasked with clearing 12 houses occupied by insurgents. very dangerous operation. they entered house after house and secured nine of the buildings. then, came the 10th.
that was a tough one. it was a three-story building surrounded by a 9 foot wall. as they entered the house and moved into the living room, two men were behind concrete barricades and they opened fire on david and everybody. in the dark of night, shards of glass, brick and plaster flew into the air, wounding multiple soldiers. the rounds of fire ripped holes into the wall, separating the americans from the terrorists. the wall was ripped to shreds and david knew they had to get out. david thought that they had had it, he leapt into the turns of bullets and fired back at the enemy without even thinking. the insurgents, he just took over and he provided suppressive fire while his men evacuated, rescuing his entire squad at the risk of his own life and only when his men were all out did david exit the building militants on the roof
fired at them with round after deadly round, our vehicle came to the scene to suppress the enemy and drove them further into the building, knowing he would face almost certain death david decided to go back in the house and make sure that not a single terrorist escaped alive or escaped in any way. he quickly encountered an insurgent who is about to fire a rocket propelled grenade at his squad. david once again jumped into danger and killed him before he had a chance to launch the grenade. next, two more insurgents came out fighting and fired it david, he returned fire, killing them both and the third assailant burst out of a wardrobe and opened fire. david shot and wounded the man but, he escaped up the stairs, raising after him, david
engaged in hand-to-hand combat and killed him also. bleeding, badly wounded david had single-handedly defeated the forces that had attacked his unit and would have killed them all, had it not been for the bravery of david. just then, yet another combatant jumped down from the third story roof and attack. david shot him in the assailant fell off the balcony. alone in the dark david killed four insurgents and seriously wounded the fifth, saving his soldiers and phasing down the enemies of civilization. here with us today, are 32 american servicemembers who fought with david in iraq, including 12 who are with david on that horrible and dangerous november night, please stand. [ applause ]
did he do a good job? [ laughter ] if not, you know it's not too late. [ laughter ] >> thank you very much, we reshaped you being here very much. also with us or five families of david's brothers in arms who made the supreme sacrifice. to the goldstar families of sean sims, stephen falkenberg, scott lawson jc madison and
michael carlson, our entire nation expresses our love, loyalty and everlasting gratitude. please stand. please. [ applause ] [ applause ] thank you very much for being here, we appreciate it. thank you . >> david always sells young people, americans don't want to fight but if someone picks a fight with us, we will always win because we don't fight for awards or recognition, we fight for the love of our country. our homeland, our family and our unit and that is stronger than anything the enemy has so thank you, and thank you to his
family very much. great family david, thank you. >> david exemplifies the same warrior who gave his grandfather and all of the heroes of normandy the strength to defeat evil, exactly 75 years ago. i hear that his grandfather joseph is now 99 years old and that today he is watching the ceremony at his home in jamestown new york, a lot of people are watching david whose intrepid's spirit and the enemies are text our freedom and defend the great american flag. we salute your selfless service and we thank you for caring on the legacy of american valor that is always made our blessed nation the strongest and mightiest anywhere in the world
and our country is stronger now and we are doing better economically than ever before, we are setting records and fought for something really good and we appreciate it. thank you . >> now, am very pleased to the asked the military aid to come forward as i present the congressional medal of honor, to staff sergeant david bellavia , please. [ laughter ] >> the president of the united states of america authorized act of congress, march 3, 1860 has awarded in the name of
congress the medal of honor to staff sergeant david bellavia , united states army for joint gallantry, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. staff sergeant david bellavia distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above the call of duty on november 10, 2004 while serving as squad leader and of supportive operation phantom fury in falluja iraq. the squad from his platoon became trapped by intense fire, coming from a fortified position under the stairs leading to the second floor. recognizing the immediate severity of the situation and with disregard for his own safety, staff sergeant david bellavia retrieved an automated weapon to engage the insurgents. with rounds around him he fired and at a cyclic rate writing cover fire and allowed the squad to break contact and make it to the house.
a bradley fighting vehicle was brought forth however, due to high walls surrounding the house they could not fired directly at the enemy position. staff sergeant david bellavia rented the house and again came under intense enemy fire and observed an army insurgent preparing to launch a grenade at his platoon. recognizing the grave danger the grenade post to his fellow soldiers, staff sergeant david bellavia killed one insurgent and wounding another who ran to a different part of the house. staff sergeant david bellavia realizing had a darkened room to his back moved to clear and as he entered an insurgent came down the stairs firing at him and simultaneously the previously wounded insurgent reemerged and engaged staff sergeant david bellavia, entering further into the darkened room he returned fire and eliminated both insurgents. he then received enemy fire from another emerging from a closet in a darkened wound and
receiving gunfire staff sergeant bellavia one of the stairs and eliminated him. he then moved to a door that opened to the roof. at this point, 50 insurgent leapt from the third floor roof onto the second floor roof and staff sergeant bellavia engage the insurgent from a window wounding him in the back and legs and causing him to fall on the roof. acting on instinct to save his platoon, staff sergeant bellavia ultimately cleared an entire enemy field house, destroyed four insurgents and badly wounded a fifth . staff sergeant bellavia bravery, complete disregard for his own safety and unselfish and courageous actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon self and the united states army.
>> thank you. >> please join me. mostly god, as we go from this place, let the ceremony be a reminder of your faithfulness and a challenge to us all to live a life of courage and honor, placing the needs of others first. thank you for the life of staff sergeant david bellavia. may his life be an inspiration to us. bless our nation and keep the lamp of liberty burning bright. in your most gracious and holy name i pray, amen. >> amen. >> thank you, chaplain. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats until the
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