WWII veteran finally getting military burial

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comOctober 23, 2012 

A Merced County World War II veteran will receive a proper burial nearly 60 years after his death.

Harold Cochran died in 1953 at age 46 in Merced County. But with no one to claim his body, he was laid to rest with nothing but a number marking the site, said Deputy Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the Merced County coroner's office.

Apparently, Cochran had lost contact with his family around the time he died. Recently, deputy coroners Jackie Hicks and Laura Fontes were successful in reaching Norma Head, Cochran's great, great grandniece.

Because family members had been located, officials exhumed his body from Merced District Cemetery last week.

Today, Head and members of Coch- ran's family are scheduled to travel to Santa Nella, where Cochran will be buried at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery with military honors.

Born in Tennessee, Cochran enlisted in the U.S. Merchant Marine in 1941 and served for three years. He was honorably discharged on Jan 11, 1944.

Cochran's ceremony is expected to last around 15 minutes, sheriff's officials said.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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