The President of the United States of America, authorized
by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863 has awarded in the name of
the Congress the Medal of Honor posthumously to:
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS HERBERT K. PILILAAU
UNITED STATES ARMY
for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the
risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty near
Pia-ri, Korea, 17 September 1951:
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army,
Company C, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Pia-ri, Korea, 17 September 1951.
Entered service at: Oahu, T.H.
Born: 10 October 1928, Waianae, Oahu, T.H.
G.O. No.: 58, 18 June 1952.
Citation: Pfc. Pililaau, a member of Company C,
distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and
outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in
action against the enemy. The enemy sent wave after wave of
fanatical troops against his platoon which held a key terrain
feature on "Heartbreak Ridge." Valiantly defending
its position, the unit repulsed each attack until ammunition
became practically exhausted and it was ordered to withdraw
to a new position. Voluntarily remaining behind to cover the
withdrawal, Pfc. Pililaau fired his automatic weapon into the
ranks of the assailants, threw all his grenades and, with
ammunition exhausted, closed with the foe in hand-to-hand
combat, courageously fighting with his trench knife and bare
fists until finally overcome and mortally wounded. When the
position was subsequently retaken, more than 40 enemy dead
were counted in the area he had so valiantly defended. His
heroic devotion to duty, indomitable fighting spirit, and
gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon
himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.