Tour Of Duty

2IDA would like to welcome to this site:

Korea, A Tour of Duty.

I first “met” Ken Leighty in 2001 via the internet.  He was building this great site and I recognized the dog in several of the photos as Sergeant-Major George because the dog was a part of my infantry unit some years later.  It was just enough of a shared experience for Ken and I to keep in touch.

And then the site disappeared for some time.

During a 2009 reunion of DMZ Vets in Valley Forge, PA, I finally met Ken and was able to ask him about the site and was happy to learn he was starting it up again.  And he did under a new name, the name it currently carries: koreaatourofduty.us.

Ken is unable to maintain the site now and the name is due to expire later this year which will shut down the site.  The best way to protect it and keep it just the way Ken left it is to incorporate it into 2ida.org as a tribute to Ken’s service to the Army and to the history of the US Army in Korea.  It is still his work and his “site” … we are just keeping it safe for him.

Please visit Korea, A Tour of Duty … just click on the name (to the left or on top) … and don’t forget to come back!!

9 thoughts on “Tour Of Duty

  1. Search for anyone Year 1953..Hill 1059 Little Gibralter & PAPASAN 9th Inf Reg 3rd Bat Item Co,,,,went on front line Feb 6…my 21st Birthday

  2. Thanks for saving LT Ken’s site. I was USAF Security Police at Kunsan 69-70 and got to the DMZ for some weapons training the first week of May 70.

  3. I served in Korea from about 7/24/1953 Until about 9-1-53 @ the boomerang. HQ & HQ 9th. Inf Reg., 2nd. Indianhead Div.
    This site refreshed a lot of memories.

    1. Your article isn’t appearing so I am providing this copy. Same URL. For some reason one can read the mobile copy but not a desktop copy.

      Interesting that he ended up doing the right/honorable thing in the end by pleading guilty and telling the location of the body even though the prosecutors admitted they didn’t have enough to convict him. Had he remained silent he would never have served time foe the crime of murder.

      Thanks for sharing the article.

      Man pleads guilty to ’99 murder
      Leighty expected to get 7 to 14 years in state prison

      December 20, 2013
      By Greg Bock (gbock@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror
      Save |
      HUNTINGDON – An Altoona man will spend between 7 and 14 years in state prison for the murder of Sherry Jean Leighty, a sentence that comes as cold comfort for her family, police and prosecutors.

      “I don’t think anyone in this room is happy with this sentence,” Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic said after Kenneth Wayne Leighty, 66, of Altoona accepted a plea deal Thursday.

      Zanic explained that Leighty, who now stands convicted of third-degree murder in the killing of his former daughter-in-law, Sherry Leighty, in the fall of 1999, wouldn’t have served a single day in jail without the plea deal, one that state police, Altoona police and Zanic’s office came up with last spring in order to find Sherry Leighty’s body.

      Article Photos

      Leighty

      “I’m not happy with the sentence, but I made the decision because we wouldn’t have been able to find her without it,” Zanic said, surrounded by investigators from the Altoona police and Huntingdon state police, as well as Sherry Leighty’s family.

      While Kenneth Leighty, appearing before Judge Stewart L. Kurtz in an orange jailhouse jumpsuit and shackles, entered his plea Thursday, his sentencing is slated for Feb. 27 with prosecutors recommending the 7-to-14 year sentence.

      Altoona police Detective Cpl. Matthew Starr said Thursday that Kenneth Leighty told investigators that Sherry Leighty was killed after an argument between the two became heated and then turned violent at his 19th Avenue home.

      “Mr. Leighty struck Sherry Leighty in the head with some sort of solid object, whether a bat or a pole,” Starr said, adding Kenneth Leighty never told investigators what led to the argument. Starr said that Kenneth Leighty then put the young woman into his vehicle.

      Sherry Leighty died while in the truck, and her father-in-law drove to his rural Huntingdon County hunting property.

      Before Kenneth Leighty was arrested April 19, police had suspected a heavily wooded, 155-acre property in Warriors Mark Township, Huntingdon County, was where Kenneth Leighty had buried Sherry Leighty, but it wasn’t until a phone call admission by Kenneth Leighty on April 19 during a conversation with his son and Sherry Leighty’s former husband, Aaron Leighty, that they were certain he had committed the crime.

      Even with the admission, one where Kenneth Leighty claimed the killing was an accident, there wasn’t enough evidence to file charges, Zanic said.

      Zanic said he was shocked by the size of the property, and even after five days of searching, complete with 20 cadaver dogs, nothing was found. Zanic said without Sherry Leighty’s body, there just wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute Kenneth Leighty, so police and prosecutors offered him the deal on May 10.

      Leighty, negotiating through his attorney Thomas Hooper, agreed, the incentive Zanic said was the possibility the then 65-year-old could one day get released from prison.

      After a visit to the property with Leighty that same day turned up nothing, police returned the next day and found the young woman’s skeletal remains, “mere feet” from one of the areas investigators originally excavated during the first search in late April, Zanic noted.

      Sherry Leighty disappeared in late September of 1999 but it wasn’t until Aug. 2012 that the Altoona police considered it a missing person’s case since at the time of her disappearance her father, the late Sheldon Dumm, told police it was rumored she had run off to Maine with a boyfriend.

      Sherry Leighty, then 23 years old and the mother of three children, was in the midst of a divorce but living with her in-laws on 19th Avenue. Kenneth Leighty told police back in 1999 that he dropped her off near Labor Ready in Duncans

      ville the morning of Oct. 1, 1999, before heading to his job at Veeder-Root Co., a fact that Starr learned in the fall of 2012 wasn’t true.

      Starr developed more leads in the case that pointed to Kenneth Leighty, with the state police coming on board after the investigation lead to Huntingdon County, and by April 19 officers were at Kenneth Leighty’s home to detain him for further questioning. Kenneth Leighty assaulted officers, telling them, “I’m not going anywhere,” and ultimately pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for which he received a 23-month jail sentence.

      Still, Kenneth Leighty refused to talk, investigators said. While Leighty did show police where he buried his daughter-in-law, much remains unknown about what happened or even when Sherry Leighty was killed.

      “The best we can determine is it was sometime between Sept. 22 and Oct. 1,” said state police investigator Cpl. Daniel Sneath, a 20-year veteran with extensive homicide experience. “There’s some discrepancy as to when things happened.”

      Zanic said the case, including the outcome, was frustrating. While he believes Kenneth Leighty’s claim it was an accident, what did happen will likely remain unsaid, he added.

      “There are two people who know what happened that day,” Zanic said. “One was in jail and had a lawyer and didn’t want to talk to us. The other was dead. Without this agreement, this wouldn’t have happened. We did not have the circumstantial evidence to proceed.”

      The time between the murder and the prosecution certainly didn’t help, Zanic said, but no one involved in the case now can criticize how the case was handled when Sherry Leighty first disappeared, he said. Zanic called the work of the present-day investigators “next to miraculous” and praised the efforts of the scores of people who played a part in bringing Sherry Leighty’s killer to justice, even if the end result is a bit unsatisfying.

  4. Served 5/68 to 6/69 with C CO. 1/23 INF

    I did a summer and winter tour of the DMZ. they were very different for each other, but had many of the same issues.
    I want to let you know what life was like during the summer tour. Based out of Camp Clinch, you test fired your weapons first and then climbed on board for a short ride to the zone. If you pulled patrol, you set up a perimeter at night and kept an eye out for infiltrators. We were good at it, capturing one man who owned only three things, pants, shirt and a suicide pill he really didn’t want to eat. I was the RTO and called the incident in. A few hours later a special patrol picked him up that included some scary looking Korean soldiers, and wisked him away. The place we caught him was were an old village once stood. Nothing but concrete scraps, overgrown rice paddy dikes, and a few leaning burial markers. Sometimes at night we could hear the scream of a tiger, scary but special. Years later I had heard that the north had killed all the cats off, but there were stories that a few free ones still roamed the zone. I hope that’s a true story.

    If you weren’t on patrol for 3-4 days, you went and pulled watch on one of the OP’s, high on a hill and located deep in the zone. When we had firefights at night, the incoming tracers were green and we returned fire with red tracers, pretty, and a deadly light show. We would hunkered down in the trenches, peering up waiting for an all clear. Meanwhile the huge speakers would blast away at us with non stop propaganda. Occasionally, leaflets would flutter from the sky claiming the good life in the north and condemning us murders for protecting the south.

    And lastly, mind numbing guard duty in the huge sand bag protected towers. The towers stood next to the fence, and beyond the fence was a mine field. We would rotate positions from the towers to fox holes east and west of the towers, they were usually wet and swampy. Around these fox holes there was no vegetation, here agent orange had been sprayed. Hourly radio check in was mandatory, and occasionally a surprise visit from some poor second lieutenant looking for alert or sleeping soliders.

    I was a light weapons infantryman, armed and empowered to protect the south, my friends and myself. I am proud to do the job best I could, but a part of us will always be back there looking for a way home.

  5. Holy smokes, I wasn’t aware of Ken’s situation!
    I sent pictures and other info back in 2009, couldn’t figure out why no response.

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