Rollin Cochran ditched deferment and joined World War II - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Rollin Cochran ditched deferment and joined World War II

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HOMER, La. -

Rollin Cochran had a deferment -- a job at a defense plant helping build Jeeps during World War II. But he joined the Army anyway. At his home in homer, Cochran told us about the sense of duty he felt to go into battle.

At age 18 in the early days of the war, Cochran says he had it pretty good in Toledo, Ohio.

"I had all the women in the country and making good money. And I had to give it up," he explained. "I just felt like I had to go an do my part."

He joined all the other young men -- including his two brothers -- at war. First stop, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, D-Day plus four.

"Just dead people everywhere," Cochran remembers.

His job in an ordnance unit was to supply troops on the front lines, and charge into the battlefields to recover damaged equipment, like tanks.

"It was danger everywhere. Back then you lived day to day. You didn't know if your number was going to be up today or not. And that's the way it was through the whole war. You never knew," Cochran says.

He and his men battled through France and into Belgium for The Battle of the Bulge. Cochran was ultimately in Berlin with occupational forces after the Nazi surrender.

Then back home after the war, Cochran says he'd had enough fighting. Though he was trained on how to kill with his bare hands, he'd go through the rest of his life avoiding any conflict.

"I didn't want to get angry enough to get upset. I just walked away from any argument." Cochran says. "Maybe they thought I was chicken. But that's just the way I was."

"You're lucky to be alive and back with everybody. Make the best of what you've got," Cochran added.

Cochran's brothers also made it back from the war. Rollin went back to the auto industry. A career in maintenance eventually led him to a dealership in Bossier City, and he made his home in Homer.

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