A Minnesota PBS Initiative
Manley & Benetta Olson
My brother, Dwight B. Mayer was killed in Vietnam March 7th, 1967 and here's a bit of his story.
Dwight was drafted and sent to Fort Leonardwood, MO. and also Fort Hood Texas. He was riding on the bus and he and Manley (my husband) were sitting across from one another and started chatting and found they were both from Minnesota so became the BEST of friends. Going over on the ship to Vietnam they went up on deck one night and made a promise that if one didn't make it back the other would go to see the family.
Dwight was killed one night when his men were surrounded by Viet Cong that outnumbered them. Manley kept his promise to Dwight and when he got home to Harris, MN. 9 months later drove up to Longville to see us. He felt so guilty, and he thought of turning back, but when he arrived my Mom and Dad met him with open arms.
When I got off work from the Bank at Walker, MN. I came home and saw Manley and fell in love at that moment. Some people wouldn't believe that could happen but it did and we have been married 48 years and have 3 wonderful sons and 4 grandchildren.
At the time of Dwights death my Mom and Dad were very upset about the war and were from the beginning. They wrote President Johnson, Westmoreland, Senators and many letters to the editor. They spent their whole lives doing that.
I have all of these compiled in albums and another album of all of Dwight's letters from Vietnam and other momentos of his. We have a flag flying at my home place here in the yard and a lighted plaque underneath. We come up here in the summers and have our home in Harris, MN. and winter in Texas.
I have always felt that it was in Gods plan for my life as when Dwight was killed and I met Manley, my life took a different turn.
Story Themes: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 9th Infantry Division, Army, Bemidji, Benetta Olson, Coming Home, Death and Loss, Dwight Mayer, Family, Fort Hood, Fort Leonardwood, Lakeland Public Television, LPTV, Manley Olson, Marriage, PTSD, Relationships, Siblings, Survivor's Guilt, Watch