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Staff Sergeant (ret.) David Bellavia Delivers Commencement Address at IRSC

 Staff Sergeant (ret.) David Bellavia, the nation’s only living Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal of Honor recipient.
Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on November 10, 2004, in Fallujah during Operation Phantom Fury, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”

Fort Pierce - Thursday May 4, 2023: A two-day graduation ceremony got underway at IRSC Thursday morning. The commencement speaker was the only living Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal of Honor recipient, David Bellavia.

Staff Sergeant Retired David Bellavia earned his Medal of Honor during vicious hand to hand combat in Fallujah in 2004 and during his commencement address to IRSC graduating Seniors Thursday he said something remarkable - “I cannot be defeated in this world. Nothing can touch me because of my experiences serving my country. My Army made me a better person. And my service made me a better member of the community.”

He spoke to us afterwards about the confidence and strength that came from his service. “I think that we all need to be uncomfortable, I think we need to around people that are different from us. I think we have to constantly have to have adversity in our lives to know what we can do.”

In the politically divisive atmosphere we live in today, the experience of service to something greater then yourself, he said, is a valuable lesson. “We’ve lost what’s really important, we’ve lost what brings us together. We focus on what divides us rather than what brings us together" and "service is a huge part of that," he said. "Our problem is we break off into red-shirt-blue-shirt and we forget really what the team we’re on.”

Bellavia has written two books, one that chronicles his experience in Fallujah called House to House, and the other honoring his brothers-in-arms, Remember the Ramrods.

“There was nobility and purpose in service in uniform," during his commencement address, "and that’s what gave my life purpose and direction. That’s what gave my life meaning.”