Herman Perry

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Herman Perry (May 16, 1922 – March 15, 1945) was an African-American soldier in the U.S. Army during World War II, who deserted the army after killing an officer.

He was born near Monroe, North Carolina. As a soldier in the army's 849th Engineer Bn. he served in the China-Burma-India Theater, helping to construct the Ledo Road.[1]

On March 3, 1944, Perry's CO, Lt. Harold Cady, attempted to apprehend him for dereliction of duty and place him in the area's military prison. Perry had previously served time in this prison and was well aware of the abuses that went on there. When he was found he was holding a rifle and repeatedly warned Cady not to approach him and to "Get back."[1]

Cady continued to advance and Perry fired his rifle, killing Cady. He fled into the wilderness and lived out a fugitive's life of jungle survival, discovering and adapting to the headhunting lifestyle of the Naga people of northeastern India and northern Burma. He was caught twice by the Army but escaped both times. After being captured the second time he was tried for murder and convicted, being sentenced to death by a military court on September 4, 1944.[2] He was finally captured in Assam on March 9, 1945, and his death sentence—by hanging—was carried out on March 15.

His story was recounted in 2008 as Now the Hell Will Start: One Soldier's Flight From the Greatest Manhunt of World War II by Brendan I. Koerner; George Pelecanos called it[3] "A fascinating, untold story of the Second World War, an incendiary social document, and a thrilling, campfire tale adventure."


  1. ^ a b Koerner, Brendan I. 'Now the Hell Will Start: One Soldier's Flight from the Greatest Manhunt of World War II'. New York: Penguin Press, 2008: 142. ISBN 978-1-59420-173-8
  2. ^ Koerner, Brendan I. The Greatest Manhunt of World War II. Slate Magazine, March 29, 2008.
  3. ^ "Marco Vigevani Agenzia Letteraria » Maintenance Mode" (PDF). Retrieved 1 March 2017. 

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