The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*PILILAAU, HERBERT K.
Rank and organization: Private First
Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 23d 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.
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.