Gene Boyt, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering; Robert Silhavy, ceramic engineering; and John McAnerney, civil engineering, were called up to serve in the U.S. Army two weeks after they graduated in 1941. Stationed in the Philippines, the three were part of Allied troops stranded without air support after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese troops began to invade the Philippines and John McAnerney was killed in combat — reckoned to be one of the first Miners to die in World War II. Boyt and Silhavy were taken captive and were able to survive the Bataan Death March, a war crime that involved 60,000-80,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war forcibly marched approximately 65 miles. 

Boyt and Silhavy found each other in a POW camp and one day decided to start conserving their meager food rations for a St. Pat’s Celebration. At approximately noon on March 17, the two made an “Engineer’s Cake” — consisting of a half gallon of rice mixed with milk and butter. It was then covered with jam. The two also put raisins in a jar and allowed them to ferment, making “champagne” for the event. 

Share This Story

Spark a Memory?

Share your story! Fill out the form below to share your fondest memory or anecdote of S&T. If you'd prefer not typing, you can also share by phone at 833-646-3715 (833-Miner150).

Miner athletics’ biggest fan

Miner athletics’ biggest fan

Keith Bailey, a 1964 mechanical engineering graduate, transformed a company and then transformed S&T athletics. He joined Williams Co. in…

Leading a national lab

Leading a national lab

At Sandia National Laboratories, Joan Woodard, a mathematics graduate in 1973, was the executive vice president and deputy laboratories director…

Megan (Jekel) and Jonathan Pardeck

Megan (Jekel) and Jonathan Pardeck

Megan (Jekel), a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and Jonathan Pardeck, a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, met through…

Jenna (Freese) and Aaron Wundrack

Jenna (Freese) and Aaron Wundrack

Jenna (Freese) and Aaron Wundrack met in the mining engineering department in 2013, where they were both pursuing bachelor’s degrees…

Andrea (Clements) and Zachary Weber

Andrea (Clements) and Zachary Weber

Andrea (Clements) Weber, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, met her husband, Zachary, when one of her sorority sisters…

Chain reaction

Chain reaction

Take 60 sleep-deprived students — easy enough to find in Rolla — and add 450,000 strips of newsprint and 530,000…