Interview with Lewis W. Cochran, January 29, 1985

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

In this second session, Lewis W. Cochran discusses the time he spent working on his Ph.D. and his experiences in the Army during World War II. After finishing his master's degree at the University of Kentucky, Cochran rotated between working on his PhD and his dissertation on nuclear accelerators and teaching at Morehead State Teacher's College. He then secured a position teaching at Cumberland College in 1941, where he taught math and physics, was the Dean of Men, and the Assistant Athletic Director. He also discusses the feelings of himself and his new bride towards the townspeople. After Pearl Harbor, Cochran was asked to take part in the formation of a Signal Corps in Lexington. He describes the decision to start some signal schools to teach radar repair and how he was sent to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to study radar systems. Within a short period of time, Cochran's draft number came up and he knew that he would be unable to stay a civilian member of the Signal Corps for long. Some of the officers with the Signal Corps helped him to get a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1942 and he went back to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for military training. After completing training, he received orders to go to Camp Murphy in Florida where he taught and took classes. He describes operating a British-made radar set and watching for German submarine activity. Cochran was then ordered back to Lexington to the Signal School. He explains how the Army moved the school to Baltimore without missing a beat. Cochran was in Baltimore for two years. His title was Chief of the Training Division and Chief of the Maintenance Division. Cochran received his first orders to go overseas two days after his first child was born. He describes the experience of going to the Philippines. He soon received orders go to the Sixth Army in Japan. He went to Kyoto to the Sixth Army Headquarters, but was then sent to the 41st Infantry Division. He recalls seeing refugees and bombed out cities. He remembers getting the opportunity to spend a week sightseeing in Hiroshima, and the struggles of being in Japan at that time. Cochran states that his job was to look over any signal equipment found and decide what to do with it. He also recalls investigating radio stations that were still operating and describes the equivalence of the American and Japanese technology. Cochran was then sent back to Manila, and he describes the conditions working with the Filipino militia, who he states were stealing from the U.S. Army. He recalls going to a war crimes trial for a Japanese general.

Interview Accession

1985oh024_af189

Interviewee Name

Lewis W. Cochran

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1985-01-29

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Cochran, Lewis W. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 29 Jan. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Cochran, L.W. (1985, January 29). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Cochran, Lewis W., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. January 29, 1985, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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