NPR Story
8:35 am
Thu June 6, 2013

WWII veteran in Mooringsport, La., pens 'spot checks' on war

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 9:26 am

A Mooringsport, La., World War II pilot has a new memoir that he calls "spot checks" on the war. On this anniversary of D-Day, when Allies invaded Western Europe 69 years ago, the 93-year-old Cochran reflects on his experiences in the Central Pacific theater.

"All of a sudden one Sunday afternoon on the radio, incidentally, there came the blast that Pearl Harbor was here. So they took me out of the B-17s and the small stuff and sent me to the Central Pacific," Cochran said, relaxed in his favorite deck chair at his Caddo Lake home. "I had just been married four months so I had this beautiful little brown-eyed Texas girl who was everything to me.  I said, ‘Honey, I just want to volunteer and get this war over with in about six months.'"

Cochran actually returned from war nearly three years later having served in five campaigns. He’s the last survivor from the 98th Bomb Squadron. He’d rather talk about the good in life -- like being surrounded by family and friends. He said time has a way of softening the atrocities of war.

"This dengue fever that I had, my buddies who were being killed... the biggest problem may be was separation from my wife – a letter once every 30 days – separation from the world, down on a little island in a tent with no plumbing. These things are never forgotten," Cochran said.

Cochran's new memoir is titled “A Time to Remember.”

“I was in the middle of a bad war. And war is hell any way you put it down. So I decided that I better go ahead and make a few notes about this thing," Cochran said.

Cochran will set out on a road trip tomorrow to catch up with family in other states. Otherwise, you’ll find him sitting on Caddo Lake -- content with the serene landscape.

Ken Cochran profile

Copyright 2013 KDAQ-FM. To see more, visit http://www.redriverradio.org/.