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Korean War

TOMAHAWKS

Meritorious

Korean War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Pfc. Herbert K. Pililaau, US Army 2nd Infantry
 
Korean War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Pfc. Herbert K. Pililau, US Army 2nd Infantry  

Private First Class Herbert K. Pililaau, U.S. Army. C Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. Near Pia-ri, Korea, Sept. 17, 1951. Pililaau, earned the Medal of Honor on "Heartbreak Ridge" near Pia-ri, Korea, on Sept. 17, 1951. "The enemy sent wave after wave of fanatical troops against his platoon, which held a key terrain feature on 'Heartbreak Ridge,'" the citation said. The company's ammunition nearly exhausted, Pililaau stayed behind to cover the company's withdrawal. He fired his automatic weapon into the ranks of the assailants, threw all his grenades and, with ammunition exhausted, closed in hand-to-hand combat with his trench knife and fists until falling mortally wounded. He is credited with killing 40 enemy soldiers.

CITATION:

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. 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.

 

 

Pfc. Edgar R. Dern, Jr., RA13299416, 2nd Infantry Division, 23rd Infantry Regiment.  
Killed in Action on 19 September 1950 during the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter in South Korea. He entered the service from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 

Pfc. Dern was wounded on 10 September 1950 and returned to duty on 18 September 1950 only to be killed the next day.  His posthumous Purple Heart is a rarity in its style as it is an early serial numbered medal which was awarded during the early part of World War II and must have been missed in the earlier stock pile.