Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia threw out the first pitch at Nationals Park before the Washington Nationals took on the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, and Fox News anchor Bret Baier was on hand for the special occasion.
Baier wrote on Instagram, "A real honor to meet Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia... Bellavia is the only living Iraq war veteran to receive the country's highest military honor. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. #honor."
Former Army Staff Sgt. Bellavia was joined by fellow Iraq war veteran Omar Hardaway, who was behind home plate to catch Bellavia's pitch.
On June 25, 2019, President Donald Trump presented the Medal of Honor to Bellavia for his actions as a squad leader during the second Battle of Fallujah, making Bellavia the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the recognition.
During Operation Phantom Fury in 2004, Bellavia's platoon was pinned down while clearing a block of houses. In Fox Nation's "Modern Warriors: Medal of Honor Special", Fox and Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth sat down with Bellavia to talk about that experience.
"As far as knocking down doors and shooting guys, it was always -- you kick down the door and there's a guy with an AK. He just ran into a house and you ran into him and its the O.K. coral," remembered Bellavia.
At one point, Bellavia's team entered a house and found heavily-armed, insurgents hiding in a bunker. According to the Medal of Honor citation read by President Trump, Bellavia exchanged his M16 rifle for an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and went into harm's way to provide cover fire so his soldiers could exit safely,
"You jumped in front of the doorway, facing machine gunfire, unloaded as much as you could, so that in the process your guys could get out of that house," said Hegseth in the Fox Nation special.
Bellavia said, "I've got 200 rounds going right at these guys and I'm blown away that I am not hurting, killing, injuring any one of them... Instead of going into the bunker, which... I really wanted to do... I kind of walk up the stairwell and put it towards the bunker and then my machine gun clanks out of ammo."
Bellavia ran out of the house with bullets sparking off the concrete walls wall around him. Bellavia directed a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to fire on the house and then he made the decision to go back inside.
"Why and when did you make the decision that 'I'm going to find a couple of guys and I'm going back into that house?'" asked Hegseth.
Bellavia said he made the assessment that the insurgents in that building presented a threat to his men or other service members and they needed to be dealt with.
"I saw two guys under that stairwell. I know there's two. I think I'm good for two... I had to have hit them and if I didn't hit them the Bradley had to have hit them... Let's see if I can take two," he said.
In the Medal of Honor ceremony, President Trump recounted the heroism followed that fateful decision.
"He quickly encountered an insurgent who was 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 that grenade," said the President. "Next, two more insurgents came out of hiding and fired at David. He returned fire, killing them both. Then, a third assailant burst out of a wardrobe — wearing a wardrobe — and opened fire. David shot and wounded the man, but he escaped up the stairs. Racing after him, David engaged in hand-to-hand combat and killed him, too," read the President.
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Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.