NEWPORT BEACH — Three years ago, Glen Mayer was sitting behind an American Legion booth at a fair in Palo Cedro, near Redding, when Bill Dunn happened upon the unexpected welcome mat.
Dunn, the 1st vice commander of American Legion Post No. 291 in Newport Beach, struck up a conversation.
The fellow veterans exchanged small talk. Mayer mentioned that his son, David, was serving a second tour in Iraq. Dunn said he'd keep the young Army specialist in his prayers.
The men met again at an American Legion convention in Bakersfield earlier this year.
"How's your son doing?" Dunn asked.
"Guess you haven't heard yet," Mayer said.
The news was grim.
In March 2008, Spc. David Mayer was part of a convoy en route to Baghdad when his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device designed to penetrate thick armor.
The molten copper and fragments ripped at his legs, and those of two of fellow soldiers. All three lost both legs and are now double-amputees. A fourth soldier suffered a broken leg.