Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Michael

Last Name: Colalillo

Birthplace: Hibbing, MN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Duluth, MN

Date of Birth: 02 December 1925

Date of Death: 30 December 2011

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served:
Michael Colalillo

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Michael Colalillo
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Sergeant Michael "Mike" Colalillo is a former United States Army soldier and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor - the Medal of Honor - for his actions in World War II.

Mike Colalillo was born on 2 December 1925 in Hibbing, MN. He joined the Army from Duluth, MN. On 7 April 1945, Colalillo 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.

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.

Citation: 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. Colallilo 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.

The Medal of Honor was presented to Sergeant Mike Colalillo on 18 December 1945 by President Harry S. Truman in a White House Ceremony.

Death and Burial

Sergeant Michael Colalillo died on 30 December 2011 at the age of 86 in Duluth, MN. He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Duluth, MN.

Honoree ID: 1336   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image