Lt. Col. Neil F. Hein
Biography: As with many of the men from the 6th TD Gp., I have only minimal information on Neil F. Hein, most of which came from his obituary. He was born on September 11, 1908, the son of William F. and Kittie L. Hein of Humbird, WI. Kittie was originally from Mount Sterling, WI. Neil married the former Marion Wilson, who was born October 4, 1908 and died February 27, 1980. In 1938, the Heins had their only child, a son, Neil Jr. They lived in Denver Colorado just prior to Neil Sr. shipping off to Britain. He served in WWII with the HQ Co. 6thTD Group and reached the rank of Lt. Col. On January 12, 1952, Marion Hein and her young son boarded the USNS General Alexander Patch in Bremerhaven, Germany to sail back to the U.S. They arrived in New York on January 21st. Their destination in the U.S was the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA. I can only assume that they were living in Norfolk at the time but that Neil Sr. was in Germany for some period of time. On May 3, 1956, the Clark County Press identified that the now Col. Neil F. Hein was one of 17 U. S. Army officers advising the Republic of Korea Army in staging its first logistical exercise. The seven-day exercise trained over 20,000 Korean soldiers in logistical support through the paper movement of supplies and equipment to strategically located ROK units. He had arrived in Korea in October of 1955. Another source identifies that he was still there in October of 1957.
The Heins lived at Fort Meade in Maryland and from December 17, 1961 to April 29, 1963, he was post commander of Ft. McCoy, WI. At the time of his parents fiftieth wedding anniversary, his sister, Beth Jeffrey, is listed as living in South Dakota. One of the Heins' last residences was in Colorado.
Research: Lt. Col. Hein is an elusive subject to be sure. Until recently, I thought he was one of the other pictured officers. It was the photos from the Newbury family that set me straight. Neil shows up in a number of the photos brought home by my father as well. He was second in command and very active in the unit. It would be my guess that he may have spent more time with the men than the Commanding officer. He seems to be a camera favorite. The little I do know about him, again, came from endless hours of internet searching. In addition to his obituary, information also came from the Ft. McCoy website and some from two separate newspaper clippings about weddings and one about his parents anniversary. I contacted Ft. McCoy and they were gracious enough to provide me with a photo of him, shown below, from the 61-63 time period when he was stationed there. I have no early record of him with the unit but he is obviously sitting with the officers in the mess photo. This would put him with the unit in England just before D-Day and he is listed in the After-Action Reports at the end of the war as of June 1, 1945.
One of my findings was an envelope addressed to Mrs. Marion Hein at the Denver, Colorado address. The letter is from Neil and sent from New York with a date of 1944. I can’t make out the month but the unit wasn’t in that area for long. They were staged at Camp Kilmer, NJ, on Jan. 16, 1944, then moved on to New York on the 28th. They shipped out the very next day. I can only assume that the letter was sent during that short time and it may have been one of the last letters he sent before leaving the USA. I would imagine that was a very special letter….probably why the envelope is still around.
I just recently stumbled upon an incredible find of items formerly belonging to Colonel Hein. I want to personally thank Miroslav Seifert for providing me with copies of the following documents and photos, which are part of his personal collection.
1.) Certificate of Promotion to Captain 10-8-41
2.) Diploma from Command and General Staff School 11-11-43
3.) Certificate of Promotion to Lt. Col. 11-10-45
4.) Article 1 - Hein picked for British Staff School 6-45
5.) Article 2 - Hein picked for British Staff School 6-45
6.) Certificate of Promotion to Colonel 7-9-46
7.) Certificate of authorization to wear General Staff Identification 7-9-55
8.) V-Mail Letter to wife Marion and son Neil Jr. "Skip" on Feb. 10, 1944 - This was an Ebay purchase and when it arrived, it was only 4" x 5" in size and printed on some type of photographic paper. I contacted the seller who educated me on V-Mail. The single page letters were put on microfilm to save weight and space which was at a premium on ships during the war. There were exceptions and as the war came to a conclusion, these restraints were lifted and original letters would have been shipped. This particular V-Mail had made it back to England through sales and trading of postal items and now it's back in the U.S. after it's third trip over the Atlantic. Thank you to Sheldon Kosky for this information.
The following image shows Colonel Hein some time in 1946, after he had been promoted. The second image is Colonel Hein's complete uniform after he had received his General Staff Badge. You can see it on his right breast pocket.
Neil Sr. passed away on Jan, 5, 1999 and is buried with his wife, near his parents, in the Mentor Cemetery. The cemetery is located in the town of Humbird, Mentor Township, Clark County, Wisconsin.