BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — We are just a few days away from the Armed Forces Support Foundation's Military Heroes Gala, an event that will honor our local military service men and women.
Along with honoring our local heroes, the event will bring to town Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sgt. David Bellavia.
Bellavia received his Medal of Honor in 2019 for his bravery in Iraq while serving as a squad leader with the 1st Infantry Division in support of Operation Phantom Fury during the Second Battle of Fallujah.
Bellavia and his unit had been tasked to clear 12 houses of insurgents in an abandoned section of the Iraqi city. When they reached the 10th house, insurgents hiding behind barricades ambushed his men. several men suffered injuries as enemy rounds ripped through the walls.
Without hesitation, Bellavia charged toward the insurgents, allowing his wounded teammates to evacuate the house.
Bellavia then continued to clear the house while facing an onslaught of enemy soldiers.
He first cut down an insurgent who had a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and then he killed two more assailants hiding in the house.
Bellavia defeated a fourth attacker after engaging in hand-to-hand combat; eventually stabbing the insurgent in the neck. Finally, he mortally wounded a fifth attacker, who fell from the rooftop and attacked him on the balcony.
Bellavia became the first, and currently only living recipient of the medal of honor for service during the Iraq war.
The Military Heroes Gala includes a benefit dinner and auction with all the funds raised going to benefit our Armed Forces Support Foundation which in turn supports our local military heroes.
It's happening Saturday at Bakersfield College at 6 p.m. To purchase tickets, see here.