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Otto (Aho) Heino

Military

After his WWII service, Otto Heino became a world renowned ceramicist.
In Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson’s book “To Fly and Fight : Memoires of a Triple Ace”, he mentions that Otto Heino was ground crew chief on his first P-39s. When Anderson began to fly P-51 Mustangs, his “Old Crow” (44-14450) was maintained by Heino and his mechanics. After Heino was promoted to flight chief with seven to eight 357th FG planes to manage, he still looked especially after Anderson’s “Old Crow”. Anderson was thankful to Heino, Melvin Schueneman and Leon Zimmerman for their fantastic job at keeping his planes in perfect mechanical condition.
In articles, as well in the US as in Finland (the birth country of his parents), it is mentioned that Heino, who made an artistic career, especially in pottery, after the war and until his death in 2009, had “flown on 40 bombing mission as a gunner” and “shot down 29 German planes”… His interview for a 2001 article in the Finnish magazine “Suomen Kuvalehti” says that “he was a member of the first Bomb Group that was sent to England” and that “they flew on 54 combat missions over Germany”… He tells that he was shot down twice, adding that he had been helped by the French underground to evade. He mentions a journey through France, across mountains into Spain, boarding a British boat which brought him back to England. The second time, his plane was hit over Sweden and it took him two weeks to get out of that country. In the Finnish article, he says his birth (first) name was Aho, but that he changed it to Otto “during the war” because he thought that Americans with a German name could manage better than others if they fell into German hands. Other articles in the US media say the name change occurred at the request of the US Army; that he didn’t like the way Aho was pronounced in English (Ei-ohh)…
His obituary, published in many newspapers, reproduces more or less the same (undetailed) story about his wartime service.
About Heino’s military career, all that can be found in official documents is that he was drafted on 16 October 1940 under just “Otto Heino” and that he enlisted in June 1942 under that name. There is no mention of his belonging to the crew of a shot down bomber nor of having evaded capture anywhere…
This website’s initial page for him has him, without further details, as a Sergent, gunner in the 91st Bomb Group. There is no mention of him on any of the many detailed pages at http://www.91stbombgroup.com/
In a 1981 oral interview at https://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-ott... , he tells interviewer Elaine Levin about his wartime service :
“Q.: How did you feel, a farmboy, in a sense, from New Hampshire, about all the things which happened to you in the Army?
OTTO HEINO: I just got drafted, so I thought I'd do the best possible service to my country. I went to the gunnery school and I passed the gunnery school. You were supposed to be there six weeks but I graduated in three. I hit the target eighty out of a hundred every time I went to shoot it. They assigned me to a B-25. I was flying at night, patrolling the Pacific, dropping depth charges. They were afraid the Japanese U-boats were coming. I did that for three months.
Q.: Were you stationed in California?
A.: Santa Rosa, California.
Q.: That was your first assignment in California?
A.: Yes. Then England was calling for help, so they formed a Hundred Bomb Group. I went to Casper, Wyoming to get my overseas flying equipment. Then I picked up the crew and a plane and we landed in Great Falls, Montana. There were a hundred bombers or more on the runway. We were all assigned to a bomber. We flew to England, then we flew out of England to Germany, France, all the European countries.
Q.: What was your specific role?
A.: I was a right waist gun. I made twenty-five missions and then I was off thirty days. Instead of coming back to the United States, I went to school in England. I did a little jewelry while I was doing woodwork at home. I liked to see how to raise silver, how to raise a bowl or a pitcher or a cream and sugar. They had the silver places on the ground camouflaged, so I went to school there for thirty days.
(Later in the interview) :
OTTO HEINO:… Then I went back flying again. After I made another twenty-five missions, they issued me a jeep and extra gas.
(And further down) :
Q.: Let's go back a little bit. There must have been a time span after you saw Leach's pottery when you remained in England.
OTTO HEINO: I made four more missions and the War ended. But then I didn't get released to go home. I was called "essential." I moved the fighter groups over to Munich, Germany for six months. Three months moving fighter groups and then three months filling the Officers Club with liquor. I learned a lot because it was a great education. I saw a lot of France and Belgium.”
* * *
He mentions a “Hundred Bomb Group” in the interview. There is no “Heino” to be found at the 100th BG website at https://100thbg.com/ ... Like Heino’s connection to the 91st BG, his mentions of being a gunner, of his evasions, etc, remain a mystery…

Service

People

  • Clarence Anderson

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot-1055 single engine | 357th Fighter Group
    Clarence "Bud" Anderson enlisted shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. He earned his pilots wing in September 1942 and joined the 357th Fighter Group a year later. In late 1943, Anderson and the 357th arrived in Europe, where they quickly...

  • Melvin Schueneman

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Asst Crew chief | 357th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 363FS, 357FG, 8AF USAAF. Asst crew chief of Clarence E 'Bud' Anderson. S/Sgt Melvin Schueneman was returning from France in an AT-6, after repairing P-51D "Little Joe". Lt Walter Corby and "Schunny" were killed as their A/C flew into bad...

  • Leon Zimmermann

    Military | Sergeant | Ground Personal/Armorer | 357th Fighter Group
    Leon Zimmermann served with the 357th Fighter Group as Major Clarence "Bud" Anderson's armorer for 'Old Crow'.

Show more

Units served with

  • 357th Fighter Group

    357th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 357th Fighter Group was the first P-51 Mustang Group in the Eighth Air Force, training with them from November 1943 at Raydon, England and entering combat with them in the February of the following year from their new base at Leiston. The Group was...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 363rd Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

  • 44-14450 'Old Crow' 'Pretty Pix'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 363FS, 357FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of Capt Clarence E Anderson Jr. Re-assigned to Lt James E Taylor.

Associated Place

  • Leiston

    Military site : airfield
    Leiston's location only three miles from the North Sea Coast made it ideal as a Fighter Group air base whose job would be to escort bombers across the sea and over occupied Europe. The air base also witnessed the arrival of many very damaged Allied...

Events

Event Location Date
Born East Hampton Conn 20 April 1915

the fifth of 12 children of Finnish-born August Frederick and Lena (Niemi) Heino

Lived in 1940

Mount Vernon, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire

Enlisted 5 June 1942

Manchester, New Hampshire

Lived in 1973 – 2009

Ojai, Ventura County, California

Buried 2009

His remains are at the Hillside Cemetery in Weare, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire

Died 16 July 2009

in Ventura, California

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 March 2019 15:02:12 ED-BB Changes to media associations
Sources

Made associaiotn between UPL and personal page

Date Contributor Update
01 March 2019 15:01:20 ED-BB Changes to media associations
Sources

Added photo

Date Contributor Update
01 March 2019 14:58:05 ED-BB Changes to middlename, biography and events
Sources

Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson’s book “To Fly and Fight : Memoires of a Triple Ace”
Transcript of March 1981 oral interview with Otto and Vivika Heino at https://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-ott...
2001 article in the Finnish magazine "Suomen Kuvalehti"
Obituary in the Finnish magazine "Suomen Kuvalehti" >
https://suomenkuvalehti.fi/jutut/kulttuuri/otto-heino-oli-suomessa-vahan...

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2019 15:16:36 ED-BB Changes to service number, role, biography, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

US CENSUS 1930
NARA WWII Enlistment records
SSDI

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:58 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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