Herman Deal was born in rural Georgia in 1923. After completing high school, he took a job building ships. After a year, he and his buddies enlisted in the Air Corp because they were promised that they would be together. That lasted only a few weeks and they were separated in different training programs.
His training took him to Boston, Texas and to Michigan at the Willow Run plant where the B24s were built. This is where he met his future wife Helen. Herman learned everything there was to learn about the B24, including how to pilot the plane. He became the third (emergency) pilot.
Herman's plane was shot down on his first mission by very heavy flak. Their mission was to attack a sub base in Toulon. After being captured, Herman occupied himself with useful activities, including attending classes for which he eventually received 18 college credits.
Herman's camp was in Austria, but when the Russians began getting close, the entire camp was marched through Germany to Lenz, the so-called 600 mile death march. His group was finally liberated by the 3rd Armored Division, Patton's group.
After returning to civilian life, Herman became involved in several successful businesses. Today, he and his wife of more than sixty years live in Ann Arbor. Although he is "retired," he works every day. Herman has been honored as one of 21 successful business people in Ann Arbor.