Captain Ken Cochran is the last surviving member of the 98th Bomb Squadron, and recently a proclamation was issued, and a flag was flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in his honor.
A local 92-year-old WWII hero is still being honored decades after his military service ended.
Captain Ken Cochran is the last surviving member of the 98th Bomb Squadron. Recently a proclamation was issued and a flag was flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in his honor.
In 1999, I interviewed Kenny and Kaye Cochran on my Shreveport Cable Vision talk show about their houseboat touring business on Caddo Lake, not knowing that Kenny is a nephew to longtime friends, Earl and Alice Cochran Williamson of Vivian.
Kenny spoke proudly about his dad, Ken Cochran, who authored a book about the Caddo Indians. That got my interest, and Kenny introduced me to his dad at church in Vivian at a fellowship meal, which led to me working with him on his writing.
In April of 2013, Ken gave me a copy of his Time To Remember manuscript complete with a cover photo by Darrell L. Chitty. After the book was published, KTBS reporter Rick Rowe interviewed Ken, which led to book signings and two radio interviews by Red River Radio in Shreveport that aired nationally on NPR radio stations.
As his agent I began sending out his columns to newspapers. A story published in The Tennessean in Nashville led to Linda Lynn, DAR Regent for the Frances Rebecca Harrison Chapter in Vivian, seeing the story while visiting in Nashville.
In September, Lynn contacted Senator David Vitter, who issued a proclamation in Washington, D.C., to have a flag flown over the Capitol building in honor of Cochran.
Cochran was honored Nov. 11 in the Vivian Railroad Museum with a DAR ceremony and was introduced by his grandson, Second Lieutenant Kip Allen Cochran of Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.
These honors mean a lot to everyone who knows Cochran. He is humbled by it all and doesn't strive for publicity. It just happens to come his way because he has a led a remarkable life wearing many hats, and none more important to him than being a Christian. He is a Christian to the core, and is also a licensed minister as well as deacon, elder and missionary to Panama, where he helped to build churches.
Mac Hobbs, of Vivian, is a family friend who has this to say about his favorite person, "The one person I want to be like more than anyone else is Ken Cochran." That says a mouthful because their friendship goes back to Mac's father, Marvin Hobbs who invented one of the first duck calls.
We currently are putting the final touches on his latest book, Seeing The Unseen: Bridging The Gap Between The Physical And The Spiritual, as well as his Outdoor Experiences, which includes an introduction by his nephew, Dr. Stan Williamson of Monroe.
Cochran still has more energy and passion for living than anyone I have known. He loves hunting – with a bow and a gun. He has become known as a poet, author, newspaper columnist and photographer. Cochran retired as a Caddo Parish principal more than 30 years ago, but he quips quite honestly that he failed first grade. When he was allowed to go back home from the war he was offered a top flying job with Delta Airlines, which he refused because he wanted to "go back to the wagon yard" and become reacquainted with his bride, Kay.
I am constantly amazed and awe-struck by how a chain of events leads from one event to another, something that could only be a part of a divine plan. These "chance" happenings are far more than coincidences. My life has been guided by such events that I call "God Wink" experiences, and meeting Ken qualifies as one of them.
Sarah Hudson Pierce is president of Ritz Publications in Shreveport, Louisiana.