Stanley Masaharu Akita, the oldest of six siblings, was born in Honomu, Hawaii in 1923. As third generation Japanese, they spoke only English at home. His grandfather had purchased land and his mother ran the Akita store on the property. His father, Alexander Akita, was a school teacher and a First Sergeant in the National Guard. Stanley graduated from Hilo High School in 1941 and moved to Honolulu. To help pay for his education at the Honolulu Vocational School, he worked on weekends washing dishes at the Smile Café on Kalakaua Avenue. On December 7, he worked a double shift and saw planes flying towards Pearl Harbor but did not realize a war had started.
In 1943 he enlisted in the army. From Camp Shelby he was selected as one of the 150 replacements for the 100th Infantry Battalion. He joined C Company. In October 1944 he was one of 17 men who were captured. Akita spent six months in Stalag 7-A, a German prison camp.
After the war, Akita took correspondence courses in engineering. He retired as a civil engineer for the State Highways Division. His hobbies included photography, fishing, jewelry making, gourmet cooking, and playing the ukulele. He became a wine connoisseur and a gemologist. Akita also was very active in Club 100, serving seven terms as its president.
His experiences as a POW are documented in the article “Why Do You Fight for America?”
Click here for his life story and more photographs.