Soldier Sentenced to Death Escapes, Becomes Jungle King Insane True Story

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“5 1944. The burmese jungle us army n849th engineer aviation battalion camp get back yelled yelled twenty one year old nprivate herman perry he stood in the road brandishing his garand nrifle lieutenant cady ignored the warning and stepped ncloser sweating sobbing probably coming off an nopium high perry was losing it having a breakdown. He wasn t going to let cady take him into ncustody. He wasn t going to do more time at that nparasite infested hellhole known as the ledo stockade.

Despite. Perry s erratic behavior cady wasn t nabout to back off this boy had a smart mouth. He had been awol he nwas a troublemaker he needed to be punished beside. There was no way that perry would shoot that nwould be suicidal.

Now less than a foot away from perry cady nstretched out a hand towards himbam. Cady jerked and crumpled to the ground for a split second everyone stared in disbelief nat. The fatally wounded cady. Then perry swung his gun around and trained nit on the other officers as he backed away down the road as he neared the trees he turned and ran nvanishing into the brush during world war ii.

The united states segregated nits armed forces sure. There were a couple of african american ncombat units created mainly for political reasons. But the majority of african americans. Nwho served were relegated to menial.

Tasks including cooking cleaning and. Construction that s how close to 10000. African americans nended up being shipped to burma these men are stationed there to build what nwill end up being. A boondoggle a 1072 mile.

1726 kilometer supply road to run through nthe burmese jungle connecting ledo india to kunming china some 5000. White americans are also sent to nwork on the ledo road. However many of them are officers overseeing the black soldiers. The burmense jungle is torturous.

It s hot humid the vegetation s dense nthe terrain rough. It s easy to get malaria or dysentery and nhard to avoid the leeches lice and mosquitoes even worse sometimes man eating tigers lurk nin. The brush clothes rot and the food rations are poor building. The ledo road is back breaking nfar harder than perry s north carolinian childhood of picking cotton in a sharecropping nfamily.

The soldiers have mandatory 16 hour shifts bulldozers supplied by the army quickly break ndown and the gis are forced into manual labor. They use hoes and pickaxes to dig the muddy nrocky red soil. Many of the black soldiers work side by side nand become friendly with coolies unskilled native laborers as a result black soldiers pick up bush lingo nurdu and hindi they trade in the local black markets for nmoonshine known as jungle juice. Some soldiers including perry seek solace nfrom.

The grim drudgery of their lives in opium and marajuana when cady was attempting to take him into ncustody perry was coming off a 2 day drug bender. After shooting cady. A panicked perry. Runs ninto.

The jungle. Oh. God he killed someone for 3 days. Perry stumbles through the jungle nin.

A daze. Not knowing. What to do he veers back to the nledo road. He runs into some soldiers from a different nunit working on the road.

They feed him and pass along messages from nhis friends in the 849th battalion. Military police are looking for him perry decides to surrender at nightfall he stands by a bridge for the nnamyung river sooner or later a patrol will come by and nhe ll turn himself in while waiting perry sets down his rifle hearing. Gunshots somewhere. Nearby.

Perry. Gets nworried. The mps are gunning for him. And they ll kill him outright instead of arresting him spooked.

He slips into the jungle again accidently nleaving his gun behind perry spends several days wandering in the njungle. Luckily he speaks some bush lingo. Which allows nhim to beg for rice from naga farmers. The naga are an ethnic group native to northeastern nindia and northwestern.

Burma some of the tribes live remotely and stick nto traditional. Practicesincluding headhunting for the most part the british and americans nignore. The naga as long as they stick to making war on each other and not westerners march 18. Around 2 weeks after he had killed ncady and fled into the jungle.

Perry. Runs into some british troops. Perry. Who s always been a smooth talker nthinks.

Fast and makes up excuses as to why he s alone in the jungle. He s able to charm the brits into giving nhim. Some food rations. It s hard going trekking through the remote npatkais foothills.

But the farther away perry gets from the army. The better one day. Perry s hiking up a dense mountain nslope when he sees something spine chilling. A basha or temporary shelter.

Often made with nbamboo this basha is decorated with human skulls nto. Which water buffalo horns. Have been attached see pic perry has stumbled into the headhunting nnaga village of tgum ga. Believe it or not perry delights.


The villagers nby giving them the remaining canned food rations. He got from the british. The ang or village chief invites him to be nhis honored guest perry takes a liking to the chief s 14 year nold daughter. She seems to return his interest.

Perry has a new problem how do you flirt with a girl and impress her nwarrior father. When you don t know the culture or speak. The language. The answer is gifts.

Perry hikes. Some 8 miles down the mountain nback to the ledo road somehow. He manages to get ahold of a load nof army goods. Most importantly he gets an m1 garand in naga culture.

Tiger pelts and claws are nprized the act of killing. A tiger is seen as a virile nfeat of masculinity compared to the clubs and flintlocks. The naga nhave with his modern gun perry is seen as having the ability to kill many a tiger. The village is impressed perry is considered nan.

Important man and the chief allows perry to marry his daughter. The first few months of perry s married nlife are pretty good he struggles with malaria. But due to his nstockpile of army rations. He s rich enough to hire servants to work his fields perry spends much of his time hunting monkeys nand tigers he grows fluent in his wife s language.

The couple s excited to find out that they re nexpecting their first child. Many nights. The tribal musicians play flutes nand drums. While the tribe chants takes psychoactives and dances.

Meanwhile the army has offered a 1000 rupee nreward for information leading to perry s capture that s upwards of 14500. Usd in ntoday s money. They assume that he d headed for the city nso. They ve been searching for him in calcutta.

The legend of perry is beginning to grow warranted or not he s becoming a folk hero to the black gis who stew with the resentment nof daily petty racial humiliations perry s awesome apropos of what actually happened they see nperry as someone who fought back against the man and won eventually. Perry becomes homesick. When he was drafted into the army. He left nbehind a young daughter and a girlfriend in washington dc.

Also his stockpile of rations is quickly ndwindling he begins to hunger for western items. Especially ncigarettes. He hires runners to go down the mountain to ntrade at the black market in rural towns. Finally the army finds a clue in the summer.

Some 5 months after perry vanished. Na coolie finds the rifle perry accidently left behind when he panicked by the bridge. The army realizes they ve been searching nin. The wrong place they put out feelers in rural towns.

Near where nthe gun was found eventually a rumor reaches their ears about nthe chief of tgum. Ga. Having a black soldier as a son in law army brass is incredulous. They never would nhave expected an unarmed tenderfoot like perry to survive for so long in the jungle.

A runner who had gone to the town of namyung nto. Get rice quickly comes back to tell perry that there are men searching for him perry leaves his wife in tgum. Ga. And goes nto a noksa or satellite village july 20th captain walter mcminn and a small nposse of mps along with hired naga guides go on a 35 hour hike up the mountain to tgum nga.

None of the americans speak any naga. They nuse a picture of perry and hand signs to communicate the posse learns that perry s gone to the nnoksa by the time that the posse huddles outside nof. The noksa making a plan. It s twilight.

The mps get a guide to go ask perry to borrow nhis gun for a hunt. The ploy works it s a common request and nperry agrees. Which leaves him unarmed army snipers sneak through the brush and position nthemselves around. Perry s basha.

They have to be careful it would be diplomatically nunwise to accidentally kill any naga while eating dinner perry sees flickers of nlight outside the naga don t have flashlights it can nonly mean. Westerners perry thinks about trying to sneak into the npitch black jungle behind the village. But tigers have recently been a problem he grabs a dao or short chinese sword and nlights. A bamboo staff to use as a torch.

Getting up his nerve. Perry goes. Outside mcminn immediately. Blinds perry.

With his flashlight nordering him not to move mcminn fires. But misses perry takes off the soldiers chase him shooting. Nas they go perry seems to vanish into the jungle escaping nthe. Ambushbut then they find his body at the bottom of a hill perry s been shot in the chest.

Around 10 pm mcminn hikes. Several hours back nto namyung to get a doctor and more soldiers. Even with the extra man power it ends up nbeing. A 9 hour ordeal to carry the stretcher bearing the 170 pound 77.

Kg severely injured nperry down the mountain to reach the ledo road from there an ambulance takes perry to the nseventy third evacuation hospital at shingbwiyang perry spends the next several days recovering. While perry s hyped up on morphine and other nmedical drugs. He s frequently interrogated at first he denies being perry. But then nfinally admits his identity and confesses to shooting cady.


He s coerced into signing a 3 page document. Nthat. He s told is a statement of what had happened though perry thinks. Some key facts are missing nor distorted against his better judgement.

He notarizes and signs the paperwork on august 28. Perry is deemed healthy enough nto be transferred to prison. He s sent to the notorious ledo stockade. The nvery prison.

He was trying to evade when he shot cady in the first place this is his second stint in the stockade nseveral months before the whole shooting. Incident. Perry had spent hellish months in ledo convicted. Nfor disobeying orders when an officer tried to assign him extra work.

Though. Perry s sentence for disobedience nwas 90 days. He had been forced to serve an extra couple of weeks in the stockade. Without nexplanation.

The army assigns perry. A lawyer captain clayton noberholtzer. Unfortunately for perry oberholtzer. Only nhas experience as a civilian lawyer.

And has never handled a felony. The fact that perry killed. Cady is indisputable nbut oberholtzer hopes to get the charges reduced from premeditated capital murder to manslaughter nthe difference being life in prison versus execution. If convicted perry is also accused of desertion and willful ndisobedience sept.

4. 1944. Perry s court martial takes nless than 6 hours oberholtzer fumbles. A chance to get the sworn nstatement perry.

Made while drugged tossed. He botches explaining that the morning of nthe murder. A distraught perry was headed to see lieutenant colonel haitt. The commander nof.

The camp who had an open door policy to chat with soldiers white or black cady. Went out of his way to accost perry with nthe intent to take him into custody consciously seeking to prevent him from seeing haitt. Who nmight have limited. Perry s punishment for going awol.

When oberholtzer brings up cady s history nof abuse towards black gis. The tribunal warns him that cady s character isn t on trial. The vote is unanimous perry is dishonorably discharged. Must forfeit nall pay and will be hanged by the neck.

Until dead as part of the army s due process. The verdict. Ncondemning perry to death must undergo a review by three members of the judge advocate general s ndepartment in new delhi. All the way across the world.

Perry s mom ngets. A letter from the army. Informing her. That her son.

Has been court martialed convicted. Nof murder. And is sentenced to hang bewildered and frightened she scrapes together nsome money and hires. The best lawyer.

She can get her lawyer submits. A brief to the washington nbased office of the judge advocate general s department. The washington office informs new delhi that na brief for the perry case will shortly arrive in the mail. Nearly a month.

Later on december 15th. The nnew. Delhi. Office transmits.

A classified message asking about the brief. It hasn t arrived nit s been lost in the mail. Meanwhile. Perry has been stuck in limbo.

Imprisoned. Nin ledo stockade. He s spent his time. Watching and memorizing nguard schedules also on december 15th perry makes his move late at night.

He crawls under the rear of nhis tent. The sleepy soldier standing guard at the entrance nto his tent. Doesn t notice perry. Only has 11 minutes before the next ntime.

The guards make a circuit using wire cutters. He stole while on work ndetail. He quickly cuts a hole in the prison fence just big enough to wiggle through protected by strips of coarse wool cut from nhis prison. Issue blanket.


Perry crawls through drainage ditches filled with barbed wire. After that he runs through the field at the nstockade s edge and disappears into the jungle. Sweet freedom perry stops to catch his breath. He s free.

But some 80 miles 129 km of nmountainous jungle separates him from his wife and unborn child. How s he going to get home army brass loses their minds. When they realize nthat perry has escaped the ledo stockade s warden and 8 guards nare formally reprimanded for. Negligence the army again puts a 1000.

Rupee bounty on nperry s head they radio broadcast perry s description nin several languages and print wanted posters by airplane they drop some posters on the nvillage of tgum ga. The illiterate naga villagers collect them nimpressed that pictures of the chief s son in law are falling from the heavens mps begin stopping black soldiers at random nbased on the chance. They may be helping perry whenever they can many black soldiers tear nup. The wanted posters they enjoy swapping tales and rumors of the n jungle king the law brief in defense of perry.

Finally nreaches new delhi on december 27. The advocate judges review finds some of the narmy s actions questionable. But reconfirms the verdict of execution in the wee hours of jan 1. 1945.

Perry is almost ncaught at an abandoned timber camp by a posse of mps who had heard rumors of a black soldier nhiding. There luckily for perry. He s a light sleeper nand escapes into the jungle just in time a bullet barely grazes hin. The mps recover a 45 pistol.

Perry accidently. Nleft behind february 19th two black soldiers staff nsergeant toomer and t. 4. Troxler are buying liquor in the town of makum.

When perry suddenly nstorms the bootlegger s shack somehow. He s gotten a replacement 45 pistol. He mugs the two soldiers of 95 rupees and nforces the bootlegger to cook him dinner. Perry asks toomer and troxler to do him a nfavor he wants them to bring him a truck stocked nwith rations clothes.

A tent a knife and ammunition in the next 24 hours. They agree to meet perry in makum. The following nnight even though he stole money from them. Toomer.

Nand troxler debate. What to do ultimately they decide to tell the army nmainly out of fear of what could happen to them. If the army found out that they had suppressed ninformation about perry they inform major earl owen cullum commanding nofficer of the 159th military police battalion at nearby chabua camp cullum decides to set up a trap. The soldiers will arrive with the truck and nthe army.

Will ambush perry toomer and troxler agree to help as long as nthe army keeps. It a secret that they betrayed the jungle king. However. Perry has anticipated a trap.

A crowd of coolies show up to meet toomer nand troxler. The army doesn t see perry. But even if nhe s there they can t shoot. Without risking a diplomatic incident suddenly from among the crowd perry sprints nfor.

The truck and hops aboard. He forces toomer and troxler to drive away ndown. The road. But there s a snag a checkpoint s coming nup perry gets out of the truck to trek through nthe jungle around the checkpoint tommer directs perry to meet them at a grassy nfield on the farside perry doesn t know that this is the army s nplan b.

As he reaches the field mps fires at perry nbut again he escapes into the jungle. This time. He s wounded a bullet s nicked. His right foot.

He packs nit full of moss. So it won t get infected. A trick. He has learned from the naga perry limps through the jungle and hides in na rice paddy.

Hours later he awakes to the barking of german nshepherds. The army s caught up to him perry escapes. Yet again this time the tip nof his nose gets grazed by a bullet. He puts moss on this wound.

Too. Cullum receives a scolding note from his commanding nofficer for letting perry get away cullum vows to capture. Perry. February.

22nd. A desperate perry hides by nthe side of the ledo road. His new plan is to board a truck hide among nthe supplies and hitch. A ride over the mountains when the truck reaches burma.

He ll ditch nit and disappear into the jungle. But perry s unwell. The gunshot on his foot s very painful also he s had to drink river water and has ncaught dysentery. When perry tries to hop on the back of a slow nmoving truck.

He s too weak and falls in the road dropping yet another 45. The gun skids further away as it hits. The nground perry realizes that a coolie has witnessed nhis failed hijack attempt spooked he quickly melts back into the jungle. Nfor.


The third time. He leaves a gun behind. Cullum starts. A mobile posse to hunt perry.

He begins. Visiting town after town to question. Nlocals. He also coordinates with the british and native npolice forces.

He and his posse. Follow. Perry s trail for nover two weeks. Cullum eventually figures out that perry s nheaded in the direction of the town of namrup perry s following.

The southeastern branch nof. The disang river. It s a long indirect route to tgum ga. However perry s probably taking this way nbecause.

Just south of namrup is considered the gateway to the naga heartland here. Perry would be able to make friends. Nchances are some of the naga tribes speak the same language as perry s wife cullum realizes he had only a few days to ncatch up with perry before he vanishes into a remote area again maybe this time forever. Meanwhile.

Perry s been growing weaker day nby day from dysentery and malnutrition. He s surviving on stolen sugarcane and begging nfarmers for rice stupidly. Toomer and troxler mention their nsnitching on perry to a colleague. The army has to evacuate them from asia over nthreats of murder from perry s fans after a long rough journey.

The posse arrives. Nin namrup cullum receives a tip as to where perry is nhe s staying at a rural farm. A few miles away the posse waits until nightfall before hiking nto. The farm.

Cautiously the posse fans out and surrounds nthe farmer s basha they find 3 naga tribesmen wearing traditional ndhotis sitting by a fire outside of the home cullum senses that there s something not nquite. Right. He takes a closer look at the men he then grabs one of them it s perry he s cut his afro and borrowed native clothing nhoping that he can pass for naga by firelight for the last time. Perry is taken into custody under tight security.

A sickly perry is transported nto the chabua stockade and kept in an isolation cell. The army decides not to return him to ledo nstockade. They fear a potential racial uprising. Perry s interrogated by mps who want to nknow where he got his guns.

Perry refuses to snitch he s sorry over cady s death. But also nsays that he would have killed his pursuers. If he had a chance march 15. 1945.

A few days after his capture. Nperry is woken before dawn and under extremely tight security transported to ledo stockade per. His last. Request.

Perry is allowed to nwrite a farewell letter to his brother. Aaron and given a final cigarette before he s nquietly hanged just after 7. Am. March.

17. Perry s mother receives a notice. Nfrom the army informing her of her son s death by judicial. Asphyxiationdue to nhis own misconduct despite repeated requests for information.

Nshe hasn t heard anything since her lawyer submitted the brief in december. She knows nothing of her son s escapades. Nor anti hero status. Some months later a small group of black ngis.

Are on an expedition through the patkais mountains to check for survivors of a crashed ncargo plane they hire some naga guides and ended up spending nthe night at a remote village. Where one of the guide s relatives lives as guests the gis are served a special treat nfor dessert canned fruit cocktail one of the soldiers curiously inquires as nto where the cocktail has come from the next morning before they leave the soldiers nare taken to the only basha in the village painted a bright yellow orange. It turns out to be owned by the chief s nteenage daughter inside the walls are decorated with wanted nposters of perry the dwelling is filled with a stockpile of narmy goods. The young mom proudly shows off her curly nhaired.

6 month old son. Wow. That was a wild ride. Now that you ve reached the end of our video.

Nwhy not keep the watch party. Going for another crazy story of a soldier. Surviving nin. The jungle check out the story of aussie robert.

Mclaren who. Performed emergency surgery non himself . Or if you re interested in famous battles. You ll enjoy our video about nthe amazing battle of the bugle.

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