Otto Heino

Military
media-37572.jpeg UPL 37572 Otto Heino in his pottery, Ojai, California, 2001 (photo Erkki and Ilona Kanto)

2001 article in the Finnish magazine "Suomen Kuvalehti"

Object Number - UPL 37572 - Otto Heino in his pottery, Ojai, California, 2001 (photo Erkki and Ilona Kanto)

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-ot… , 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…

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

Three airmen of the 100th Bomb Group, Lieutenant Kenneth Menzie, Lieutenant Donald Strout and Lieutenant Norman Scott, plan the route they will take during the next mission in their B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-30380). Image stamped on reverse: 'Reviewed and passed U.S. Army 23 Aug 1943 Press Censor E.T.O. U.S.A.' [stamp]'. Passed for publication 23 August 1943 INTLD 16 General Section Press Censorship Bureau '[stamp], 'Associated Press' [stamp] and '280035.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reve
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
Unofficial emblem of the 91st Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

Captain Clarence E. Jr. "Bud" Anderson, ace of the 357th Fighter Group, sits on the wing of his P-51 Mustang (B6-S, serial number 43-12315) nicknamed "Old Crow". Image signed on reverse by Anderson. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Major C E Anderson ace 357 FG. A/c name 'Old Crow'.
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 357th Fighter Group 363rd Fighter Squadron Headquarters (357th Fighter Group)
  • Service Numbers: O-730324
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 357th Fighter Group 363rd Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 36500585
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Asst Crew Chief
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 357th Fighter Group 363rd Fighter Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant (RAF)
  • Role/Job: Ground Personnel / Armorer

Aircraft

Captain Clarence E. Jr. "Bud" Anderson, ace of the 357th Fighter Group, sits on the wing of his P-51 Mustang (B6-S, serial number 43-12315) nicknamed "Old Crow". Image signed on reverse by Anderson. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Major C E Anderson ace 357 FG. A/c name 'Old Crow'.
  • Aircraft Type: P-51 Mustang
  • Nicknames: Old Crow Pretty Pix
  • Unit: 357th Fighter Group 363rd Fighter Squadron

Places

Aerial photograph of Leiston airfield looking south, the control tower and technical site are to the right, 16 October 1945. Photograph taken by No. 541 Squadron, sortie number RAF/106G/UK/929. English Heritage (RAF Photography).
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Theberton/Saxmundham

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

20 April 1915 the fifth of 12 children of Finnish-born August Frederick and Lena (Niemi) Heino

Enlisted

5 June 1942 Manchester, New Hampshire

Died

16 July 2009 in Ventura, California

Born

Mount Vernon, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire

Born

Ojai, Ventura County, California

Buried/ Commemorated

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

Revisions

Date
Contributorjmoore43
Changes
Sources

Added " / " in the "Role/job" field as a Separator to aid readability.

Date
ContributorED-BB
Changes
Sources
Date
ContributorED-BB
Changes
Sources

Added photo

Date
ContributorED-BB
Changes
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-ot…
2001 article in the Finnish magazine "Suomen Kuvalehti"
Obituary in the Finnish magazine "Suomen Kuvalehti" >
https://suomenkuvalehti.fi/jutut/kulttuuri/otto-heino-oli-suomessa-vaha…

Date
ContributorED-BB
Changes
Sources

US CENSUS 1930
NARA WWII Enlistment records
SSDI

Date
ContributorAAM
Changes
Sources

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

Otto Heino: Gallery (1 items)