HOMEFRONT: South Dakota Stories
South Dakotans in the Mexican Border War - Students from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Erling Dutt and William E. “W.E.” Snyder were two of the almost 40 South Dakota School of Mines and technology students sent to the Mexican border in 1916 as part of South Dakota’s 4th infantry unit.
SDSM&T students at the Mexican Border as part of South Dakota’s 4th Infantry – 1916

The “miners”, and 1000 of their fellow soldiers, were among the 100,000 National Guard troops activated by President Woodrow Wilson after Pancho Villa invaded the United States on March 9, 1916. The Mexican revolutionary leader’s attack on Columbus, New Mexico left 10 civilians and 8 soldiers dead, as well as large parts of the town burned to the ground. Villa was pursued into Mexico by General John J. Pershing and 4800 regular Army troops, but the guerrilla leader was never captured. Troops remained along the U.S. / Mexican border until the Spring of 1917. Dutt’s and Snyder’s correspondence home were among the various “border” letters by SDSM&T student / soldiers published in the school’s “Paha Sapa Quarterly”. Though it’s not known if either soldier was ever interviewed about their experiences, their letters were read and recorded to include as part of the Homefront archives.

SDSM&T student William E. “W.E.” Snyder at the Mexican Border - 1916

Rapid City actor Eric Hedlund read the letter written by Erling Dutt.

Deadwood actor Logan Sulentic read the letter written by William E. “W.E.” Snyder

Listen to the Dakota Digest story about the SDSM&T students and their service during the Mexican Border war.







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