Kenneth Cochran

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Marine Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran.

Marine Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran

Died January 15, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

20, of Wilder, Idaho; assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Jan. 15 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Wilder Marine Kenneth Cochran found joy in helping others

Kenneth Cochran
Marine Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran

PARMA — Born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, Kenny Cochran spent his first days in a neonatal unit fighting to survive. For the next 20 years, he didn’t take a moment for granted. “Live life every second, because every second counts,” Kenny wrote for an assignment at Parma High School on his life goals. He also wrote that the country he’d most like to visit was Afghanistan. He wanted to be a Marine, and he thought Afghanistan was a place where he could test his body and soul, where he could learn to fight and bring honor to himself and his country.

About 450 people gathered in the Parma High School gymnasium Sunday to remember Kenny. The Marine from Wilder died in Afghanistan Jan. 15 at age 20. In a written statement, Kenny’s mother, Julia, remembered her son as always on the move. As a child, he zoomed around on a red electric Jeep. Later, he graduated to a Model A pickup go-kart his father built, then a motor bike and finally a Camaro. Motoring around, he always shone an ebullient smile, she said.

His uncle, Jim Howell, recalled Kenny as an energetic boy running wild with his brother and sisters. After the others grew tired, Kenny would keep playing, alone. He entertained himself with a game: he would knock on a door then jump out of the doorway and laugh out loud, pretending to surprise himself, Howell remembered.

As he grew, Kenny harnessed his energy. At 13, he decided to become a Marine like his father, George. But he doubted the Marines would take him, so he endeavored to become stronger and smarter. He trained with weights and studied from a book of vocabulary words he kept in his pocket.

Kenny also developed a love for the written word. He had a hard time talking about his beliefs — honor, freedom and responsibility — so he spent endless hours creating stories, poems and essays, expressing himself through writing. “His ideals came from an earlier era of chivalry,” his mother said. “He would have made an exceptional knight during the early Crusades.”

His pastor, Dale Larson, remembered sitting in his pickup truck one day when Kenny approached him and started a conversation. The Parma High graduate seemed so mature and spoke so eloquently about matters of faith that Larson was awestruck. Kenny was concerned about people acting selfishly when there’s so much good work to be done in the world, Larson said. He believed that life is about helping others. “I watched him walk away and thought, there is a good man. He is a good man,” Larson said.

Another time, Kenny visited his uncle’s house, which was under construction. After writing his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 23, on a beam, Kenny climbed up into the unfinished rafters and began walking around. His uncle looked up and expressed concern for his nephew’s safety. “He told me, ‘I’m going to be a Marine. If I fell off, I wouldn’t be a very good Marine.’ I had to let Kenny go. I had to let him be his own person,” Jim Howell said.

Kenneth Cochran
Kenneth E. Cochran

The Cochran family has a legacy of military service. Kenny’s mother, Julia, is an Army captain on active reserve, his father, George, is a retired Marine, and his older sister, Joyce, is an Army specialist. Joyce Cochran was also serving in Afghanistan when Kenny was there. About a week before he died, they spent time together. Kenny showed her around his base and introduced her to his fellow Marines. He was happy to be with his sister and proud to be in Afghanistan following his life’s dreams. “He died wearing his Marine uniform. He was so proud of it. I can be happy knowing he will be in it until the end of time,” Joyce said.

Pendleton, Okinawa Marines die in Afghanistan

Two Marines were killed Sunday in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

Cpl. Jon-Luke Bateman and Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran died in combat in Helmand province, Pentagon officials said in a news release issued Tuesday. It’s not immediately clear if their deaths are related. Bateman, 22, of Tulsa, Okla., was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. An infantryman, he was on his first combat deployment. Cochran, 20, of Wilder, Idaho, was assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, out of Okinawa, Japan. He was a water support technician.

Marines with 2/4 have been operating in the southern part of Musa Qala, according Lt. Col. Bill Vivian, the battalion’s commander, who posted a message Saturday on the unit’s Facebook page. Earlier this month they launched Operation Double Check, aimed at booting Taliban fighters from the area, which he referred to as “contested terrain.” The enemy, he said in his message, “doesn’t want to let it go.”

Vivian said 2/4 is scheduled to be replaced in March by Camp Pendleton’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. Ninth ESB has been in theater only since late-November.


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