Mike Colalillo

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Mike Colalillo
Mike Colalillo.jpg
Mike Colalillo, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1925-12-02)December 2, 1925
Hibbing, Minnesota
Died December 30, 2011(2011-12-30) (aged 86)
Duluth, Minnesota
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Sergeant
Unit 1st Battalion, 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor

Michael "Mike" Colalillo (December 2, 1925 – December 30, 2011) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.[1]

Biography[edit]

Colalillo joined the Army from Duluth, Minnesota in February 1944,[2] and by April 7, 1945 was serving as a private first class in Company C, 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division. On that day, near Untergriesheim, Germany, he encouraged his comrades to follow him into enemy fire, manned an exposed machine gun, and helped a wounded soldier back to friendly lines. For his actions during the battle, he was awarded the Medal of Honor on January 9, 1946.[3]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Private Colalillo's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

Private First Class Mike Colalillo, 2d Squad, 2d Platoon, Co. C, 1st Battalion, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division was pinned down with other members of his company during an attack against strong enemy positions on 7 April 1945 in the vicinity of Untergriesheim, Germany. Heavy artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire made any move hazardous when he stood up, shouted to his company to follow, and ran forward in the wake of a supporting tank, firing his machine pistol. Inspired by his example, his comrades advanced in the face of savage enemy fire. When his weapon was struck by shrapnel and rendered useless, he climbed to the deck of a friendly tank, manned an exposed machine gun on the turret of the vehicle, and, while bullets rattled around him, fired at an enemy emplacement with such devastating accuracy that he killed or wounded at least 10 hostile soldiers and destroyed their machine gun. Maintaining his extremely dangerous post as the tank forged ahead, he blasted three more positions, destroyed another machine gun emplacement and silenced all resistance in this area, killing at least three and wounding an undetermined number of riflemen as they fled. His machine gun eventually jammed; so he secured a submachine gun from the tank crew to continue his attack on foot. When our armored forces exhausted their ammunition and the order to withdraw was given, he remained behind to help a seriously wounded comrade over several hundred yards of open terrain rocked by an intense enemy artillery and mortar barrage. By his intrepidity and inspiring courage Private First Class Colalillo gave tremendous impetus to his company's attack, killed or wounded 25 of the enemy in bitter fighting, and assisted a wounded soldier in reaching the American lines at great risk to his own life.[3]

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