‘It’s just devastating’: Local veterans react to bombing, evacuation from Afghanistan

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — As we continue to find out more information about the bombing in Afghanistan that killed U.S. service members, local veterans in Onslow County are reacting to the news.  

9OYS spoke with several local retired military members in the community and they say they are not only upset about what happened but they are also frustrated as well. 

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“Our hearts and prayers are with you with them. And if there’s anything that any of us here in Jacksonville, Onslow County could do for them. It’s only a phone call away,” said retired Sgt. Maj. Joseph Houle. 

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Veterans like Houle joined Onslow County officials and other community members on Friday for a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the recent bombings near Kabul airport. 

“This is a very close-knit community. And whenever something happens on that base or our bases in North Carolina. It hurts this community, clean to the bone,” said Houle.  

Devastating is what local veterans called it, including Randall Cox, the commander of the Disabled American Veterans of Onslow County.  

“I’m sorry, it’s just devastating,” said Cox. “And when I heard about it (Thursday) night, yesterday, I sat down and just cried because it’s heartbreaking.”  

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Retired GySgt. David Hamaker served for 21 years and went to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. He also spoke out on the attacks. 

(Claire Curry, WNCT photo)

“Fellow Marines are lost. Some are wounded, civilians are wounded. And we did all that work and then this happens,” said Hamaker.  

Overall, they all agree that coming from this tragedy, those who serve our country need support now more than ever.   

 “It’s a tragic day when you have to lose a loved one. a loved one that chose to serve his country and defend the freedoms of all people,” said Retired Sergeant Major in the Marine Corps Raquel Painter. 

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