All started from a quote. The editorial room fell into an incredible silence when boss randomly tossed a name in our group chat: Anyone majored in literature knows Andy J. Sklivis?
I looked it up, the name appears with one simple quote among big names including William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde– “The windmill never strays in search of the wind”. Logically, Andy must be somebody, yet there is no wikipedia page, no social media page, no nothing about this person within a brief browsing.
I tried all links that wouldn’t lead me to another stupid quotation page where people abusing words with no idea where do they originally came from. A page on “Find a Grave” showed a tombstone, under the cross, there are words carved: “Andrew J. Sklivis/SGT/US ARMY/World War II/May 3. 1922/Nov 7. 1994/82nd Airborne”. Is this soldier the author? If so, then he has passed away for 30 years. The War, the war again, and what does this lead to? What is 82nd Airborne?
Questions spinning in my head and not until I read Kovthe’s troupe and how his parents traveling and gathering information through people’s telling, by books and archives, and any reference they could find for one single song, do I realize how much could have laid beneath one anonymous quote.
There is no flowers on the tomb, there is no photos of A.J. Sklivis. Fold3 gets a national archives page on WWII Army Enlistment Records with 8,800,037 names listed. Andrew was listed under Andrew J. Sklivis entry. He was born in Florida in 1922, finished his 3 years high school, when enlisted in the army on Oct 26, 1945, he was single and without any dependents. He lived in Jefferson County, Alabama when he dead. The enlistment place showed Ft Slocum, New York. He was enrolled in Hawaiian Department Signal Corps which is a regular army with components including officers, nurses, warrant officers, and enlisted men. Before he served the army, he was a national guard in Federal Service. By the way, the record said that he is a white guy.
The 508PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) also got a nick name “Red Devil”, and Andrew is the designer of their “team logo”. He won the design contest in 1943. The emblem shows a red devil wearing a parachute with one hand holding a rifle. It depicts a more agre (the latter part is coming soon)