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Heth was Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard during mid-M32. A primary rival on the Senatorum Imperialis to Lord High Admiral Lansung, Heth was different from the Admiral due to his desire to lead from the front lines and close relationship with the common rank and file. Heth was part of the anti-Lansung faction on the High Lords that included Inquisitorial Representative Wienand and Grand Master of Assassins Drakan Vangorich.[1a]

During the War of the Beast, Heth personally led an expeditionary force to relieve the Imperial Fists on Ardamantua from a massive Ork force. However Heth's forces were quickly annihilated, and before his ship was seemingly destroyed the Lord Commander Militant dispatched a message back to Terra warning of The Beast and his Attack Moon.[1b]