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Vietnam veterans note similarities in images from Afghanistan and the fall of Saigon

Veterans gather daily at Mooresville coffee shop
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 3:55 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:18 PM EDT
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MOORESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - For many watching the troubling images from Afghanistan there is a disturbing sense of déjà vu. Veterans of the Vietnam War remember the fall of Saigon in 1975 and note just how similar many of the images are.

At Richard’s Coffee Shop and Military Museum in downtown Mooresville, veterans find comfort in community and conversation that propels the past into the present.

“It brings back a lot of memories.” said U.S. Navy veteran Robert Caudill. “It’s hard to watch a country that we put so much money, put so much blood into, and they were able to walk right through it.”

Caudill spent 26 years in the Navy with three tours in Vietnam. He says it’s hard to see these images knowing the sacrifices that were made over the past twenty years. When asked what he would say to family members who lost loved ones fighting in Afghanistan, Caudill offered this response: “There’s nothing you can say,” Caudill added. “You can’t put a explanation out there that they would understand. We thought we were doing the right thing. We done what we were told to do always.”

“It’s another...I’ve just got to say it. It’s another instance of Washington not letting the military do what they know how to do. It’s just that simple. If you say it was all for nothing, then you’re discounting all the people that gave their lives for doing their jobs and they did their job and they gave up for it and it’s not their fault and it’s not our fault,” said Vietnam veteran Larry Nosker. “It completely falls on Washington, D.C.”

Nosker served in the Air Force and the Air Force and Air National Guard.

“Did you see those pictures all over TV? The C-17 with all those people climbing all over it…you know, it’s Vietnam all over again.”

Biden administration officials have downplayed the similarity between the images from Kabul and the pictures taken during the fall of Saigon in 1975. In both cases, the military was using helicopters and planes to get people out of the country.

“The majority of the people don’t want what’s coming,” Nosker added. “It can’t more obvious than what you’re seeing.”

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