The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Private First
Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division. Place and date:
Near Untergriesheim, Germany, 7 April 1945. Entered service at: Duluth, Minn.
Birth: Hibbing, Minn. G.O. No.: 4, 9 January 1946.
He was pinned down with other members of his company during an attack against strong enemy
positions in the vicinity of Untergriesheim, Germany. Heavy artillery, mortar, and
machinegun fire made any move hazardous when he stood up, shouted to the 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 machinegun on the turret of the vehicle, and, while bullets
rattled about him, fired at an enemy emplacement with such devastating accuracy that he
killed or wounded at least 10 hostile soldiers and destroyed their machinegun. Maintaining
his extremely dangerous post as the tank forged ahead, he blasted 3 more positions,
destroyed another machinegun emplacement and silenced all resistance in his area, killing
at least 3 and wounding an undetermined number of riflemen as they fled. His machinegun
eventually jammed; so he secured a submachinegun 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 Pfc. 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 of his own life.