Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Spencer

Last Name: Akin


Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Ball

Date of Birth: 13 February 1889

Date of Death: 06 October 1973

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Spencer Ball Akin

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Spencer Ball Akin
Major General, U.S. Army

Spencer Ball Akin was born on 13 February 1889.

In World War II, during 1944 radio relay equipment proved itself more vital in the Pacific than it was in Europe. By November, message traffic in the Pacific Theater of Operations was more than a million groups per day. In addition to wire communications, Akin equipped a small Signal Corps' fleet made up of a flotilla of small vessels that included schooners, ketches and barges, with radio. At first they served as relay ships, but they soon became Forward Command Post communication sites, Army Command and Administrative Network (ACAN) Stations, and Communications Supply Depots. Their support was so coveted that Army elements continually competed to obtain their services.

As Chief of Signal Intelligence in the Far East and of Army forces in the Pacific, Akin exploited the Japanese reliance on radio communications by keeping commanders appraised of pertinent information. In one instance, an intercepted enemy radio message revealed that the Japanese had issued orders to move airplanes from a vulnerable airfield to a safer location, because they were expecting bombing raids. The Army Air Force used the information to attack before the move could be made, destroying large numbers of enemy aircraft. Akin's intelligence services crossed service boundaries. At Admiral Halsey's request, a Signal Intelligence Detachment was placed on his flagship. Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, Commander of the Fifth Fleet in the southwest Pacific, kept Signal specialists on duty with him at all times.

As General Douglas MacArthur's Chief Signal Officer throughout World War II, Akin exercised strong control by being in the forefront of each operation. This sometimes irritated others. Sixth Army troops, including their Commander, Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, complained that mobile communications clogged Highway 3 with a long column of heavy Signal Corps' vehicles, during the recapture of Manila near the end of the war.

Akin accompanied General MacArthur from Corregidor through the initial military government in defeated Japan at the close of World War II. Before Corregidor and Bataan fell, Akin's radio program, the "Voice of Freedom," broadcast to the world, three times daily, that the two islands were holding.

Major General Spencer B. Akin, was elevated to Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army in 1947 and served in that capacity until 1951, when he retired.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)
Silver Star Medal (2 Awards)
Legion of Merit
Air Medal

Death and Burial

Major General Spencer Ball Akin died on 6 October 1973. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2049   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image