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The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient
President Donald Trump presented former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia with the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the nation's highest valor award.
Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his heroic actions of Nov. 10, 2004, when he killed five enemy fighters during a chaotic battle inside an enemy-held house during the second battle of Fallujah, rescuing an entire squad in the process.
But according to Bellavia, he likely wouldn't have made it out alive had it not been for his knife.
During a Monday roundtable, Bellavia described engaging enemy fighters inside the dark house full of propane tanks and plastic explosives, first with his M4 carbine and then with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
But after killing four insurgents, Bellavia was confronted by a wounded fighter who engaged him in hand-to-hand combat, forcing the soldier to pull out his Gerber Rex Applegate folding knife and kill him.
The Gerber Applegate combat folding knife with a serrated edge(Gerber photo)
Here's how Bellavia described the encounter in a 2006 oral history of second battle of Fallujah:
I was covering his mouth, telling him to shut up. His breath was horrible, just stale, nasty breath. The moral of the story is that the dude bites my left hand near the thumb knuckle through my glove. I open up my SAPI plate and hit him with the inside of my vest. He's screaming, there are people screaming downstairs and I have no composure at all. This is not a John Rambo moment. I'm really scared. I stand up and he digs into my leg with his fingers. I'm looking for my Rex Applegate Gerber knife: not a multi-tool, just a serious blade. I go to reach for it and he puts his teeth — I don't wear underwear and he bites me right in the genital region.
I don't know if he thought I was going to give him mercy, but in the struggle my Velcro knife case slid off my belt and was now on the ground next to his head. I hear someone yell down from above me in a panic. The man underneath me yells back. The more I put pressure on his left arm the more he goes limp. I flick my blade to the side and it snaps to the ready. I had never stabbed anyone before so I went down on him with a stabbing motion. I lost the grip on the knife and it went right across the base of my right pinkie finger. As soon as I let it go, a hot wave hit me and it smelled like rust. I put one hand on his mouth and other under his chin and just started to push like I was giving him CPR. The stream only got powerful when I pushed down and it opened up. I fell over and was completely exhausted.
Members of Bellavia's platoon came to his aid immediately afterwards, and not a moment too soon: as he put it on Monday, the struggle pushed him to his "breaking point."
"Honestly, if I had an MRE spoon, I would have used it — it was just there," Bellavia recalled. "My breaking point was the last guy. If my guys didn't come in at that moment, I did not have enough reserve ... I was just done."
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.