William G. Leyden, Jr., 91, of Osprey, FL, retired Army Colonel and nationally recognized military counterintelligence and clandestine collection expert, passed away on March 29, 2013, in Venice, FL. Col. Leyden, born in Lockport, NY, was a 1955 graduate of the University of Maryland. During World War II, he participated in the 1942 invasion of N. Africa and the N. African Campaign as a member of the 1st Infantry Division.
After the war, he served three years as an Army/Air Force Recruiting Officer in Pittsfield, MA, and in 1949, volunteered for the Army Counterintelligence Corps. After foreign language and special agent training he was assigned to the 66th Military Intelligence Group, Germany. He served a total of nine years in Germany conducting counterintelligence investigations and clandestine collection operations. Upon his return to the US, he served as Deputy Director of the Foreign Operations Intelligence Department of the Army Intelligence School, Fort Holabird, MD. In 1962, during the Berlin Crisis with the construction of the Berlin Wall, he was name requested by the Commanding General, US Army, Europe, to assume command of the 250 man Berlin Station, 513th Military Intelligence Group.
He retired from the Army in July 1965 and joined the Defense Intelligence Agency, as Chief of the Human Resources Special Collection Branch where he authored the 1st Defense Human Resource Intelligence Management System Manual. In 1971, he became the DIA Chief of the Counterintelligence and in 1985 was awarded the Directors Exceptional Civilian Service Medal and in 1988, his division was awarded the Director of Central Intelligence Meritorious Intelligence Unit citation. In 1988, he joined the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight as Senior Investigator/Inspector. After 49 years of federal service he retired in December 1991.
His military honors include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with Invasion V cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
Col. Leyden was a member of the Knights of Columbus; he was a Past Grand Knight and former Virginia District Deputy of the Third Degree; Commander of the Color Corps and Honor Guard and Past Faithful Navigator of the Fourth Degree. In 1989, he was honored as the State of Virginia Sir Knight of the Year. He is also a Past President of St. Brendan Division, Ancient Order of Hiberians and a member of the Army Counter Intelligence Corps Veterans Association, and the American Legion.
He is preceded in death by his first wife, Winifred Meeks Leyden and his second wife, Esther Franqui Leyden. Survivors include a son and daughter from his first marriage, William J. Leyden and Carol Ann Leyden; two step-sons, Dr. Kevin Byrne and Brian Byrne; brother, Paul Leyden; sister, Ann Fatta; thirteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A Visitation will be held on Sunday, April 7th from 2-4 PM at Ewing Funeral Home, Venice, FL. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, April 8th at 10:00 AM at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Osprey, FL. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, at a later date. Arrangements being handled by Ewing Funeral Home.
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