100th Infantry Battalion
Stanley is among the 150 soldiers from the 442nd selected to be replacements for the 100th Infantry Battalion.
He is perplexed by his selection since the replacements are rumored to be the worst soldiers in the companies.
Stanley finds it very difficult to leave the men he has been training with in K Company.
This is a long story, but we, the first group that went to the 100th, hundred fifty of us, the rumors went around Camp Shelby, within the 442nd, that the captain picked the lousiest guys to go to the 100th. But the hundred fifty came from three to five people from each different companies. So the company commander gets to pick whoever he wants to send overseas. And to me, it was normal that if a company commander's going to pick somebody out of the outfit, he's going to pick the lousiest ones.
So apparently on that basis, we were noted as the lousiest guys in the 442nd that was sent to the 100th. But that wasn't a lie. Because only recently, I got a call from a lieutenant friend of mine that said that when we hundred fifty was sent to Fort Meade, to go on the way to the 100th, the commanding officer of 442nd wrote to the commanding officer of Fort Meade to be careful with this bunch.
Sometimes I wonder why I was picked because I thought I was a good soldier. They even gave me a good conduct medal. I want that letter and I want to frame it. To show people that I was in the worst bunch of the 442nd.
So the gist of the story is that we're not the bunch of good soldiers, like the guys in the French Foreign Legion or something. So now I'm convinced that the rumors was true. That we were so-called the rubbish of the 442nd. The ones that they didn't want us around.
I don't know why I was picked. Maybe it just so happened that our K Company commanding officer didn't like my looks, I don't know. But I can see how we would be sort of classified on that basis. Because when we went to Fort Meade, one of the first thing the cadre - the cadres are the non-commissioned officers stationed there that took care of us - one of the sergeants come up and said, "Now men, don't go across the railroad track, in that area there, where there's tough marines there." So what the guys do, they want to go there and fight the marines. That's all they want to do, looking for fight. But that's the kind of bunch I was with. If they're not fighting with the haoles, then they're fighting among themselves in the barracks.
I think they really got rid of the fighters from the 442nd.
I remember just about two of us [from K Company] went. Two or three. And one sergeant volunteered. Or was he a lieutenant? He volunteered from the K Company. He wanted to go because he was a little on the elderly side compared to us, yeah. A lot of these old 442nd guys, they were twenty-eight, twenty-nine, they were older than us and looked like they were with a bunch of kids. You know, they on the elderly side. So I don't blame them for volunteering to go to the 100th with all their age group.
Leaving K Company
I don't know if [the men of Company K] felt any compassion or anything like that but as far as I was concerned, it was an order that you got to obey. You're in the army, you got to obey, do whatever you got to do.
But as far as camaraderie, even today, like next week Tuesday, I'm going to have lunch with some K Company guys. Just to get together and chew the fat. But it didn't bother me at all. When I first came back from Italy because they were same age as me, I was very active with the K Company boys.
But then I thought, chee, why should I ignore the 100th, after all, I fought with them. So I start getting active with the 100th more than the 442nd, the K Company. But I was very active with them and I did a lot of things with them, even after the war. But I couldn't ignore the 100th.
[If I had the choice,] I don't think I would have gone [to the 100th]. Because I knew [K Company] too well by that time. In fact, I could say that I knew almost everybody in K Company but not by their names. But within your platoon, you knew everybody. You're just like one big family. So if I had choice, you want to go or don't you want to go? I don't think I would have gone. I would have taken my chances with K Company and probably be dead today.
Those days, at our age, we don't reason why. They tell you do it, you got to do it.
[In Civitavecchia where the 100th Battalion became part of the 442nd RCT], to be real honest with you, it was a feeling of joy meeting all my friends again. It wasn't anything sad or anything like that.
Stanley Akita's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Stanley Akita.