Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia

28, of Wakefield, Massachusetts.
Bellavia and other soldiers were attempting to negotiate with armed men who were congregating after curfew on a road near a mosque in Karbala, Iraq. The Iraqis opened fire killing three soldiers and wounding seven others. The soldiers were assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on October 16, 2003.

Associated Press photo Joseph P. and Christine Bellavia are shown at their wedding in April 2000 in Massachusetts.

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"I served with you in Korea in the 2nd Military Police Company and remember walking the ville with you on duty. We again served together in the same battalion in Iraq. You will always be remembered."
SFC Lombard (Retired) of Las Vegas, Nevada

"Joseph and I went through basic together then went on to SIAD together. As I was changing duty stations my parents sent me a check to help get my, daughter, my wife , and myself home. The bank wouldn't cash the check there would be a 5-7 day hold as funds were verified. I was due to leave before then and because of a screw up in BAQ (I hadn't received any) I was low on funds. Joseph asked what's wrong I told him and without hesitation he said ill cash the check here is the cash. He knew me for 9 months didn't know my parents at all but reached out to help a fellow soldier. His smile in basic and on was infectious a caring , giving, amazing person. GOD bless his family they raised a wonderful young man and soldier. R.I.P. my friend."
Steven Dobbs of Follansbee, WV

"SSG Bellavia, you was a great mentor. we didn't really know know each other but the kind of soldier you was. i wanted to be. you was a respected and liked man. i just wish i could have told you in person. you will always be missed. brother in God, brother in arms"
Spc. Brian Frogge of Bowling Green, Ky US

"Just checking in Joe. Its been 10 years. I think about things a lot. I hope your family still sees these. You were well respected, and grudgingly loved. You are definitely missed."
David of Former 716 HHD

"S/Sgt. Bellavia,
Sir, I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Air Assault!"

"RIP SSG Bellavia, you will never be forgotten!"
Ted Spain of Aiken, SC

"To Joe.....

Yesterday, I came to visit with you at Arlington (12-06-2012). Though I have been by several times in the past few years, this was the first time that I felt comfortable enough to sit a spell and talk; it did me good. I knew you only briefly, back in Hohenfels. However, as most of us know, brief is all the time required to become "Joe's Family". I remember seeing you at BNCOC, I was transitioning into the newest chapter of my life.... As always, you were leading from the front and the center of it all. I miss you my brother. I brought Rose by to visit with you last Spring; she remembered you with a smile, Joe. Keep watch over us all and know that we (I) are proud to have known you. I keep your memory in my heart and think of you often. I promise to visit often my Brother. I hope that your loving wife and family have found peace in their grieving, for I know that you are never far away from us all. Rest easy "Wildman"! SSG "C""
Danny Cunningham of Moreland, Georgia

"Hello Bellavia Family,
It has been 8 years since we got the news of Joe getting killed in Iraq. Amanda and i were working together and she cried and cried. It was terrible . I remember Jonathan being so sad and so stoic . Joe's funeral was moving and sweet. Little Gino didnt quite know what was going on . Thank you Joe for all of your sacrifice. RIP SGT. You would be really proud of all of your family , your nephews and nieces are amazing."
Dana Barker of Goodlettsville TN

"Joe no matter how many days go by there isn't a one brother this world and the "Bushmasters" don't miss you. You are a friend and fellow NCO that i was proud to serve next to and those that did know you were very fortunate and those that didn't I wish they did. From that well known Boston accent to your selfless duty it is something we will all forever miss. Brother I along with so many others will forever let you live through us so that your never forgotten for the ultimate price you paid. 3/551st MP Co., Ft Campbell, KY "BUSHMASTERS" God speed and Air Assault forever my friend."
Greg Moore of Saint Petersburg, FL

"RIP Joe, one of the best soldiers I ever had the pleasure to serve with."
SFC (Ret) Landrum of Cincinnati, Ohio

"To the family of Staff Sergeant Joseph P. Bellavia, As your son, husband, brother and family member approaches the seven year anniversary of his passing please know that his service and sacrifice will never be forgotten by a grateful nation. We can only hope that this time finds you with peaceful, loving memories of a true American hero. The memorial placed in his honor at the lake in Wakefield has brought our family and so many others a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful place to pray and simply enjoy it's tranquility. Again our deepest thanks and appreciation."
The Kee Family of Tewksbury, MA

"It is hard to believe that it has been almost 7 years. RIP....."
CM Davis of Fayetteville, NC

"I deployed and worked with SSG Bellavia in the 716th MP Battalion in 2003. Even though we never really had a strong personal relationship he was definitely one of the well liked, motivating NCO's of the battalion. From the moment they tried to place him behind a desk I could see the stress build up because he missed the line unit so very much. The connection he had with his brothers in arms was terrific. The ultimate sacrifice has been made my brother. Rest in GOD's graces and I hope to meet and greet with you again one day."
Reginald Goodman of Former HHD, 716th MP BN

"To the family of Joseph P. Bellavia ,I am so sorry for the loss of your love one.He died a hero.May you know the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Hopefully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need someone to pray with you or talk to please call or write my pastor at Gateway Community Church,Rev John B Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd. Covington Ga. 30016 phone 770-787-1015""

"thank you, thank you, you gave it all for me to be safe"
kaylyons@live.com of Laurel, Ms/USA

"You came to mind a couple days ago when I was thinking back on those I've come across in my travels of life who made indelible impressions upon me. To this day your the only true Miami Dolphins fan I've ever met...lol. Who the hell else would cheer for such a team. (laughing) Anyway...lifes rolled on and I'm sure many of your D795 brothers and sisters have enjoyed the bounties of parenthood, holidays with family, and quiet nights by a warm fire that you provided us in your sacrifice for freedom. Were all approaching our fourties now Joe. We were just kids when we all met in Basic. Life's fast my friend..almost too so. I've got a 12 year old daughter who was flipping through my Army service pictures the other day and she asked who you were when she saw your picture and some articles I saved regarding your sacrifice for freedom. I sat her up next beside me and passed on to the next generation a story of an american kid, who ended up and american hero.

Take care bro...well share a "cold one" one day."
Brandon W. Davis of Chicago, IL

"Rest in Peace Joe, Thank you for you're service!"
Colleen Braymiller of Peabody, MA.

"Just thinking about you Joseph. Never forgotten brother."
Bower of California

"Joe...I miss you. I think of you so often and can't help that I still cry. It's easier now but I don't think it will ever be "easy" to deal with. You were the only reason I was in the Army. For that, I am grateful because it changed my life. RIP. I will never forget you."
Amanda Johnson of Alabama

"I am so glad there is a photo of Joe here. He was such a handsome guy. God Bless those he left behind."
Nicole Krueger of North Platte Nebraska USA

"Joe, I am home on leave from Iraq right now, and just wanted to tell you that I miss you and think of you often. I “acquired” some engineers and went and set up an awesome memorial to at the place you were taken from all of us, because you were an awesome guy. It is great seeing all of the messages left from everyone from D-795, and it is easy to see that you touched everyone the same way with your smile. I just wanted to say hi, and let you know that you are not forgotten brother. If I end up seeing you sooner rather than later, I you have the beer waiting. Christine if you need anything I am as always available for you. My email address is docaz98@hotmail.com"
CW2 Scott Hadfield of 3rd Special Forces Group, Ft. Bragg, NC

"April 22, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia:
Joseph gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I deployed with SSG Bellavia in the 716th MP BN and worked with him in the 194th MP Co as well. I was there that night in Karbala and I was the nurse that worked on him in the streets in front of the PMO. Christine, I've always wanted to be able to tell you that I am so very sorry that I could not save him. I did every thing I could at the time and I failed. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him and everyone that was involved that night and wish that I could somehow make the outcome different. Please know that your husband was a great man, a great soldier and that he loved you so much. I don't have the words to express how sorry I am for your loss, but know that he will never ever be forgotten. God Bless."
SGT Misty Frazier of Coeur d'Alene, ID (formerly Ft. Campbell)

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bellavia family. Words cannot express ..."
Susan Arsenault of Kansas City MO

"Hey Joe, you are a warrior and a good NCO, you will be missed by your family, your unit, and your soldiers. BNCOC was a blast with you in brother, I think I have you on tape for our dinning in, You were a hoot my friend....Air Assault"
Victor "Marty" Martinez of Ft Cambell, Ky


It's hard to believe it's been almost 4 years now. I still think of you all the time and all the fun times me, you, Jon, Will and Todd had together through the years.
You will never be forgotten
Your friend,"
Brian Moccia (Gumby) of Sanford, Maine

"SSgt Bellavia.
It's been along time. I remember that long ride from the Karbala Police station back to camp lima. I was scared to death. I just kept praying to whatever god there was to keep you alive. Thompson and I drove like mad to get you back. I screamed over the radio to have an open gate so we might get you there just a lil quicker. I'm sorry we couldn't drive faster. I will remember you always. Last year we lost Tim (Guffey). He couldn't take another deployment to Iraq and this time he would have been without any of us from that first time. This year I mourn for you, Sean, and Tim. I pray that whom ever you believed in has welcomed you all and will grant you the rest you have all earned more time over than many. Til I see you all again. Taeger (now Hagermann)."
ray of waterford,mi

"I was walking around the lake that is in the center of Wakefield, Massachusetts yesterday. It was already dark, and the only light was coming from North street about 150 yards away and from across the lake. I could barely see the edge of the water when I saw a young man jogging. He stopped running and slowly walked up to something that I thought was a bench situated in an open space close to the baseball park. The young man stood there for a minute with his head down, as if praying. Then, he turned around, walked to his truck that was parked near by and drove away. I found a small flash light that I had in my pocket and came up to the bench. On the side of it I read

Joseph Bellavia
…our son, our soldier, our hero…

I never knew Joseph Bellavia, but my heart is aching for him…
I may never meet his family, but I will be praying for them…
I may never find out who that jogger was, but I am thankful to him…"
EM of Stoneham, MA

"Joe after all these years of knowing you, you are the bestest friend that anyone can have. You are remembered at all times and will never be forgotten. I miss you with all my heart and think of you every day. Everyone that knew you were blessed to be apart of your life. Thank you for protecting your Country. God Bless you and your Family!"
Jennifer Lee(Livsey) of Derry, NH

"Christine, Christopher and Jon,

Miss you all very much. You're always in my thoughts and prayers."

"Joe...I still grieve for you buddy. I remember day I saw your name scroll across Fox News as a casualty. I was holding my first born daughter Sophia in my hands on R & R leave. And I cried my soul out. The world lost a good man. I remeber the day you came to Hohenfels in 3rd Plt. And what fun we had going out to the What's Up Bar in Parsberg, Germany. You helped me with my anger during my divorce. And now I have a new family. I'll never forget that. I'll always look at our pictures in Germany buddy and laugh. My heart goes out to your beloved wife and family Joe. You are and always will be a good friend. Rest in Peace Brother...Rest in Peace."
Randy Calderon of Killeen, Texas

I remember talking to you everyday just before you went over there and how you wanted to go to Iraq so bad and fight for your country. I'm sorry that I missed your funeral but, I will make it to your grave in Arlington and pay my respects. The world is a lesser place without you bro!"
Sgt Nathan Hedberg of Clarksville, TN

"I'll always remember the rapport he had with his soldiers. The hung around him like he was the pied piper. He made his people feel safe, and they gladly went to him for guidance."
Louis Menchise of Bronx, New York

"I was a Screaming Eagle with SSG Bellavia. When I heard of his death I mourned but knew in my heart that he would rather all of us live for him. To this day I use his sacrifice as an example to myself and my Soldiers of what to live up to. I will never forget....AASLT"
Gary of Ft. Carson

"I was the 1st Awardee of the Bellavia Award at Fort Leonard Wood and was extremely honored to be associated with Joe's name. I also was very honored that his wife, Christine, made it easy for me to accept that award in such an emotional moment. God Bless the Bellavia family.
I would like to send something to Christine if anyone knows a good address.

SFC James Moore"
SFC Moore of Springfield, VA

"Friends and family of Joe. I never really got to know him until we were in country together. Joe is the typ of person that gave support and friendship no matter who you were. I remember the talks we had and the practical jokes we played but in all reality you are the true hero Joe. I wish all of the friends and family well. This time of year I have to say that I am most thankful for friends like Joe."
Sgt Dennis pellett of Hornell Recruiting Station NY

"Christine, my heart breaks for you, for your loss. Joe sounds like a doll. Honey, this may not mean anything to you now, but maybe one day you will remember these words. What you had with Joe is what millions of women only dream of. Cherish your love, cherish your memories. You will probably never get over losing Joe, but Honey, eventually, you will find a way to get around the devastation and travel down another avenue of your life. My prayers are with you. My heart breaks for you."
Shannon Alday of Laurel, Mississippi

"I never knew Joseph, but I learned of his sacrifice while graduating from MP BNCOC. I want to send my best wishes to his family. SSG Bellavia is someone that I will look up to. God Bless."
SGT Scott Armantrout of Ft. Gordon, GA

"I went to BASIC/AIT with Joseph. We also were stationed at Sierra Army Depot as brand new PVT's. I was stunned when I heard the news of Joseph. His sacrifice will never be forgotten. He was a great guy/friend and his memory will always be with us. To his family, you will all continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Rest in Peace Joseph."
1LT Pletz, Susan of Fort Polk, La

"Rest well brave soldier. You will never be forgotten by a grateful nation.

"Joe, man I have struggled with your loss for 2 years now. You were my first Team Leader and also one of my first Squad Leaders. I still remember all the dumb things we did and how you could always make everyone laugh. I have video of you goofing off with us in the barracks and spinning the beads around your neck. I watch it sometimes and think about the good times we had. I think the hardest part for me to take was I had just seen you a little while before you died in Iraq. We were on our way out of country and you guys had only been there a little while. Christine, I am sorry for your loss. He was a great man. I still remember when you guys threw me that birthday party at your new house and Joe and my buddies ruined the cake with cigars as candles and pissed off my girlfriend. Ahh, the memories. Well, Joe, I am heading back over there soon for round two and am gonna need your help buddy. Watch over me like you always did before. You will be with me on every patrol. Thanks for everything warrior. You make us all proud to know you. Love you man."
SSG Joshua Farmer of Fort Hood, TX,

"I will miss you Joe. I was recently looking at pictures of us from way back in the day. I went to Basic Training and AIT with Joe, as well as our fisrt duty station at Sierra Army depot in California. I was able to spend time with Joe in Germany, but unfortunately I was unable to keep in touch with him. I will deeply miss him, and it breaks my heart to know that the world is such a lesser place without his presence. He was an amazing man and I have only the deepest respect, love, and admiration for him. To Christine, my deepest sympathies to you and I will always be available to you if you are ever in need. May God smile down on you and bring you comfort in your times of trail. Joe, I know that you are in heaven with the signature big grin and laugh of yours. God speed my freind!!!"
SFC Scott Hadfield of 2nd BN, 3rd Special Forces Group, Ft. Bragg, NC

"I had the pleasure of serving with SSG Bellavia in Korea. He will never be forgotten by any of the soldiers that served with him in the 2nd MP CO. Joe was always there to help us out or cheer us up. You always new when Joe was around by the chants of "Air Assault" up and down the hallway or out in the field, In Joseph's book those simple words made everything better and we would be back on our feet ready for more. Whenever anything went wrong or our moral was down he would be there to bring us up. Joe was a soldier's soldier, a person we could count on. Joe... I will miss you and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I am so sorry for your loss."
Brian Eagen of Cary, NC

"I graduated Basic and AIT back with Joseph in 95. Almost 10 years later I still remember that wide smile, contageous energy and a young kid who was going make a difference in the Military. I remember you talking proudly of your father and how you were going to become an officer like him. I still laugh when I think about the Drill Sgts trying to fatten you up with more food. You were pretty skinny buddy! I am in a bit of a numbness right now since finding out about this rather late. Know this Joe. Your life and sacrifice will not be forgotten by all your brothers and sisters of D-795. You are a hero to the United States and hero to those of us who will tell your story. Until we meet again my friend. ---Brandon W. Davis"
Brandon W. Davis of Erie, Pennsylvania

"Chris, I just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and I hope all is well. This time of year is forever changed and I will never forget Joe or the things he did and what you sacrificed. He meant a lot to me and I still struggle over his loss. I teach here at West Point now and often speak about him with the cadets. He is an inspiration. I can still remember him trying to teach me how to play Dominoes in the sandy swept desert around SA Chesty. If you every need anything please let me know."
CPT Chad Goyette of USMA, West Point, NY

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Joseph, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. G-d Bless you. Proud Marine Mom"
Lily of Wakefield MA

"Christine, I learned about the lost of you husband through our classmate, Mike, and send my prayers to you and your family-Like many others, he will not be forgotten"
Henry Black of Gautier, MS

"I was in Basic and AIT with Joseph. I have great memories of our class and of Joseph. Rest in peace. You are our hero."
Tara Bourgeois (SGT. US ARMY) '95-'00 of Houston, TX

"Chris, I came across this page and read about your brother. Even though its been a long time since I've talk to you or your family, I was sad to read about your loss."
Rachel B. of New Jersey

"Sergeant Bellavia, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Joe...Thank you for the many hours you stayed up late to help me get through all the hard times I had in Korea. Your ability to care for soldiers and mentor your junior leaders will remain with me forever. You are truly a great friend and mentor. You will be missed by everyone who has had the pleasure of being in your presence. Christine...Know in your heart that you had a husband who loved and idolized you. Your sacrifice while he was in Korea, allowed for many soldiers to become better people. He was a proud Husband and Father. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Rest in Peace my friend..."
SSG Daniel Sturges of Ft. Leonard Wood, MO

"Back in 1995, I had the pleasure of meeting and living with Joseph for four months while in Basic training and AIT. About four years later we met again at Ft Campbell. I've never forgotten, nor will I ever forget Joseph. He just had that personnality that made you more positive about things. Christine, please know that he will be in my memories and prayers."
Stephane L. Walker of Ft. Drum, NY

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Joseph, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"I came across a page that listed all of the fallen soldiers in Iraq. I saw this name and cried. I was in basic training and AIT with Bellavia. He was funny and we got our passes taken from us the same weekend. I have great memories of our entire class and now the memories that I have of him will stand out much more. You are in my prayers."
Christina aka PVT Montz of Rochester, IL

"Christine Bellavia, Although I've never met you or your husband, SSGT. Joseph Bellavia, I read an Associated Press article that was published a few days ago about you and I want you to know that you're in my thoughts. I am so sorry that he didn't get to come home to you but I am also proud and honored to serve in the same military that your husband served so bravely in. The sentiments your husband expressed in his last letter to you were so beautiful and I truly hope his words and your memories of him will continue to comfort you and give you the strength you need to face each new day, whether in your nursing studies or just getting through the everyday routine. I wish you courage and, above all else, peace. SSGT. Jospeh Bellavia will never be forgotten. He is my hero."
SSgt Dominique Atkins of Offutt AFB, NE

"my deepest sympathys to his family and friends, he sounded like a great man."
Aly O. of Morgan Hill, CA, USA


"Thank you Joseph Bellavia, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To Joseph I can only offer my prayers to you so that the intense grief you must be feeling will be somewhat assuaged. Take comfort in knowing that his ultimate sacrifice for me and millions of other Americans will never be forgotten. He died for people he didnt even know. I will never forget him. If there is anything I can do for him please let me know. ctpoet1@yahoo.com"
Chris Decker of East Windsor Ct USA

"To the family of Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia. I am truly sorry for your loss. Please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Joe will always be remembered as a hero. Words cannot express how grateful we all are to the men and women serving to protect this country. May God bless you this during this difficult time."
Stephanie Rullis of New Jersey

"Christine, John, And Chris, We just want to let you know that our thoughts will always be with you and we will pray for all of you. You guy's are a major part of our family. We have all been friends for a long time and hope that if you ever need anything please don't hesitate to ask. We Love You all."
Sargo Family of New Jersey

"My thoughts & prayers go out to all the Military men and women who are at war and especially those who have lost their lives. May God bless you forever. Thank you for everything, you are my hero! Rest in peace."
Amanda K Casas of San Diego, Tx

"My thoughts & prayers go out to all the Military men and women who are at war and especially those who have lost their lives. May God bless you forever. Thank you for everything, you are my hero! Rest in peace."
Amanda K Casas of San Diego, Tx

"I am very saddened for your loss Joe was like a brother to me he will be missed greatly"
Kathleen Howard (Broderick) of Malden Ma 02148

""Military Police Corps Regimental Prayer
By Chaplain Michael Yarman

Heavenly Father - We approach You today because You have called us to be a people of prayer.

We praise You because You are our Creator, our Redeemer and our Provider.

We acknowledge our great need for You as we fulfill our mission as soldiers.

We have been called to serve our nation as Military Police and we are proud of the honored heritage of the Regiment and our motto: Of the Troops and For the Troops.

Whether we are fighting an enemy, securing as area, patrolling the streets, or helping someone in distress, help us, O Lord, to always be men and women of integrity who can be counted on to do the right thing.

Give us the strength to stand for what is right and to oppose those who would do harm to our nation and the people we serve.

May we always be truthful in Word, Deed and Signature, and bring honor through our service to the memory of those in the Regiment who gave the supreme sacrifice for their country.

Guide us now, Father, by giving us wisdom and knowledge from on high, that as Military Police we will always be prepared to Assist, Protect and Defend.""
CPT Glidewell

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Joseph Bellavia:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Joseph for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Joseph Bellavia:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Joseph, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on