How an American Soldier Was Forced into Vicious Hand-to-Hand Combat in Fallujah

2018 Jan 29th

How an American Soldier Was Forced into Vicious Hand-to-Hand Combat in Fallujah

VALOR REMEMBERED (CQC): On Nov 10th, 2004, was Staff Sgt. David Bellavia's 29th Birthday. He had been awake nearly 48 hours denied sleep by sporadic gunfire aimed at him and his platoon as they made their way through the streets of Fallujah, Iraq. He had already seen his sergeant major, company commander and executive officer cut down by enemy fire, forcing him to assume command of A Company, Task Force 2-2, 1st Infantry Division.

"I wanted that revenge. I wanted to be that leader that I promised I would be," he said.

According to his Silver Star citation, Bellavia, armed with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon gun, entered the room where the insurgents were held up and sprayed it with gunfire, forcing the enemy to take cover and allowing the squad to move into the street. While the Americans took fire from various vantage points inside the house, Bellavia called in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to shell the houses.

During a lull in the fire, Bellavia approached the house again and observed an insurgent loading a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Bellavia promptly shot him and charged into the house. A second insurgent fired at him, and Bellavia wounded him in the shoulder. When he entered a bedroom, the wounded insurgent followed, forcing Bellavia to shoot him. When another insurgent began firing from a floor above, Bellavia returned fire and killed him. A fourth insurgent then emerged from a closet in the bedroom, yelling and firing his weapon as he leaped over a bed trying to reach Bellavia. The insurgent tripped and Bellavia wounded him. Bellavia chased the insurgent as he ran upstairs.

He followed the wounded insurgent's bloody footprints to a room on the landing and threw in a fragmentation grenade. Upon entering the room, Bellavia discovered it was filled with propane tanks and plastic explosives. He did not fire his weapon for fear of setting off an explosion and instead engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the insurgent, fatally stabbing him in the neck.

Years later, Bellavia recalled his actions as reactionary.

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For more on David Bellavia's story read "House to House" An Epic Memoir of War

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