Medal of Honor Recipient Not Sold on Giving Conan the Dog the Purple Heart Just Yet

Posted: Nov 11, 2019 9:45 AM

Recent Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant David Bellavia said while military working dogs are vital assets to military operations, the military should first recognize the humans who were involved in the raid that took down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

President Trump is considering a way how the Department of Defense can award military working dog Conan, who took part in the raid and was slightly wounded, with the Purple Heart.

Bellavia said on Monday the military should focus on taking care of people first, then animals.

"You know, our dog handlers are incredible. Those dogs are huge assets. Army is a people organization, right? Let’s take care of people first, right? And when all these brave men and women have been given the valor awards that they earned, when we are taking care of our vets in the VA then we can focus on canaries, dolphins and dogs, we will do all that afterwards," Bellavia told "Fox & Friends." But we’re people first and then dogs second.”

"Well, I mean, look, the dog is — again, this is an incredible tool. I’m not disrespecting anything those guys are doing. But it still takes men and women at the tip of the spear," he added.

Bellavia is the sole living Medal of Honor recipient for actions in the Iraq War. While he and his squad were clearing houses in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, insurgents ambushed and trapped his squad. Bellavia used a M249 SAW machine gun to suppress the insurgents and allow his soldiers to move out of the area. 

To ensure the insurgents were dead, Bellavia went into the house they fired from and cleared it. He is credited with single-handedly saving his entire squad.