ANTHONY   SKODMIN

ANTHONY SKODMIN - PFC

  • HOMETOWN:
  • iselin
  • COUNTY:
  • Middlesex
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • July 10, 1945
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • January 20, 1966
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • PFC
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Anthony Skodmin was born on July 10, 1945. His home of record is Iselin, NJ. He graduated from Woodbridge High School in 1963. His nickname was "Skippy."

He served in the US Army and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). Anthony received his basic training at Fort Dix. He served with the 101st Airborne Division.

Skodmin was in Vietnam only thirty days before he was killed in action, in South Vietnam, on January 20, 1966.

Skodmin was survived by his parents and two brothers, Richard and Walter.

As a teenager, he worked all during high school at a local bakery in Iselin. He also helped my father drive oil trucks and deliver fuel oil. He loved the ocean and spent all his summers in Seaside Heights, NJ, where his parents had a cottage. He was popular and outgoing, and he loved to have fun. He was very handsome. Blonde hair, green eyes, tall and thin. Skippy always wanted to be a soldier as long as I can remember. When I last saw him as he left for Southeast Asia, he said he had a feeling he would not return. I can still hear myself screaming when I heard of his death. January 1966.

It is only now that I can smile when I think of him, his smile was so infectious. He'll always live in our hearts. He gave the ultimate sacrifice because he loved his country when it was not popular to do so. Some of the neighbor kids called him "nuts" and "crazy" to join the service. He felt it an honor.

Lauretta DiFino, Friend
February 27, 2004

The following was taken in part from Project Remembrance at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin, NJ, 2003 - 2004.

Every soldier that goes into war has a story, some are told, others aren't: but the ones that don't get told are the ones that mean the most to people. Those few that have the ability to know those stories are fortunate because they find out about the man behind the soldier. Anthony "Skippy" Skodmin, is just one of those men, and I was lucky enough to find out about his life and what type of person he was. Everyone that knew him would always say the same thing, and I mean the exact same thing about him. People say that it was a good day when Anthony smiled, a sign of the day being great and new for everyone.

Anthony Skodmin was born on July 10, 1945, to Walter Sr. and Anna Skodmin. He was the middle of three brothers, the oldest, Walter Jr., and the youngest, Richard. They lived in Iselin, New Jersey, right near St. Cecelia's Church. He attended St. Cecelia Parochial school and then went right into Woodbridge High School, class of '63. Anyone that knew him would say that he was a great person because he was always doing things for everyone else. He was always playing with the neighborhood kids, playing with his dad and his brothers, or just being by himself and contemplating different ideas about the world around him.

He enlisted into the war at the age of eighteen. Anthony told his friend, Tommy, that it was a matter of honor for his country; an obligation that he felt should be fulfilled. He also told his friend, Victor DiFino, that he believed strongly in honor and pride for his country; he wasn't one to just sit and do nothing. His family had mixed emotions about the whole thing but supported him with his decision. Skippy, after his training, was sent to the 101st ABN Division USARV, and was privileged to be a Private First Class. It made him feel good to have that title from what I have been told. He left a lot of people behind when he went to war. His friends, Victor and Lauretta, Tommy, Linda, and a lot of other people loved and missed him. He told many of his friends when he came home on relief that he wanted to abandon the war and go to California, but everyone said, "No, Skippy, you've got to finish what you started, go and be the hero!" He had a bad feeling that he wasn't going to come back and sadly enough, he didn't. He was killed in a freak accident to the head on January 20, 1966. His body was found in South Vietnam. When told of his death, his friends and family first thought that it was a mistake, but it was a reality when the family received the Western Union telegram. They buried Skippy in St. Gertrude's Cemetery. Sadly, a year after his death, his mother, Anna Skodmin, died. According to Lauretta, his mother never recovered from her son's death. But now she is with him in heaven. His father died only a few short years ago.

Many of his friends and family were nice enough to tell me about Anthony and what type of person he was. Everything that they told me made Anthony Skodmin's story complete. His friend, Tommy Scandlen, was one of his friends who was in combat with him, but in a different area of the war. He said that "Skippy" was a fun loving guy that everyone liked. Even though he was a little bit older, he went to the same high school. Although they had a rocky friendship being in the war and all, they were really close friends. He said that when he lost "Skippy", he didn't lose any of the memories. He says he still holds all the memories of the two of them together, and being friends.

Lauretta Greenbacker, also known as Lauretta DiFino, was the first person to tell me everything that she knew about this man.

"He was outgoing, loved life, and had the most gorgeous green eyes you've ever seen. He was always laughing and making all of us laugh. His family had a beach house at Seaside Heights, and he spent all his summers there."

"He was bronze and blonde when he came back to WHS, in the fall. I loved him so, unfortunately for us both, he didn't realize how much I cared until graduation night in 1963." She loved him so much and misses him so much. As she said," You never know how much you love a person until they are gone, and I wish that he was able to have the life that he deserved."

Her brother, Victor, also had to say he liked to help out the people in his neighborhood. He remembers crabbing and fishing with him at the shore; Skippy loved the beach. Even though he was older than him, they were still the best of friends.

Skippy's girlfriend, and from what I am told, fiancée, Linda Smink, took it really hard. She remembers all their time together, and that even to this day, he was her first love. She misses him so much; talking about him makes all the good memories come back to her. She will never forget him. Linda says, "How can you forget the first love of your life?! It is impossible for me; I loved him with all my heart."

His brother, Walter II, was the oldest and the one who suffered the biggest impact from the situation. His son, Walter III, Skippy's nephew, was only eight when his uncle died. They remember how the family handled it. As they told me, they were a very private family, but still mourned for their loss. The 21-gun salute at his burial was when the family really realized he was gone. As well as being very missed by the family, he was also greatly missed by the community.

Information provided by Lauretta DiFino (friend), JFK Memorial High School and NJVVMF.

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