WAXAHACHIE — The Ellis County Commissioners Court joined Kaufman County to honor the life and service of a Vietnam soldier during its Tuesday afternoon meeting.

During the regular session, the court approved a resolution supporting Kaufman County to dedicate the Trinity River Bridge on Highway 34 as a memorial to Army Staff Sgt. Robert Cochran.

Presenting the resolution to the court was Kaufman County Pct. 4 Commissioner Jackie Allen.

“We started this (project) back in the first part of the year and we went through the Texas Department of Transportation rules and regulations for this process. However, it changed a little bit, so after we passed our resolution, TxDOT said, ‘wait a minute part of that bridge is in Ellis County, so you have to have Ellis County adopt the same resolution.’ So we started over from scratch again for your assistance,” Allen said. “He (Cochran) is the only man from Kaufman County that we could find who was killed in action to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. His family is from Rosser, and they are still there. We would like to honor him and his memory by naming that bridge as a memorial bridge for Staff Sgt. Robert Cochran. We elicit your support in doing that.”

According to the Department of Defense’s website, the Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the Army and previously the Army Air Forces. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States, military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

According to the Military Times Hall of Valor website, Cochran was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with a hostile armed force when he served with Company D, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam. The citation was awarded posthumously, as Cochran was killed in action March 10, 1968.

“Staff Sergeant Cochran distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on Sept. 22, 1967, while serving as an infantry company squad leader during a search and destroy operation in the Ho Bo Woods. The company's lead element sighted what appeared to be an enemy emplacement, and Sgt. Cochran and a radio operator advanced to investigate. They suddenly began receiving heavy fire from a well-fortified Viet Cong bunker complex,” the citation reads. “As Sergeant Cochran returned fire on the insurgents, his comrade, who was ten meters behind him, was seriously wounded by the savage enemy fire. After expending all of his own ammunition, Sergeant Cochran moved through a hail of bullets back to the radio operator, secured the wounded man's rifle, and returned to his previous position to place devastating fire on the Viet Cong fortifications."

The citation continued and stated that Cochran again ran out of ammunition and crawled to the rear to re-arm.

“Securing a grenade launcher and a pistol, he personally assaulted the nearest enemy bunkers. He killed four insurgents at point blank range and was then wounded by fragments from an enemy grenade. Heedless of his wounds, he continued his fierce attack and shouted for the rest of the company to join him. Sergeant Cochran single-handedly destroyed three Viet Cong bunkers with hand grenades while exposed to the lethal enemy fusillade,” the citation read. “With complete disregard for his own safety, he made himself a target for withering insurgent fire to protect his advancing fellow soldiers. His dauntless actions were responsible for an overwhelming victory over the determined Viet Cong. Staff Sergeant Cochran's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.”

According to the Department of Defense’s website, only 1,066 Army soldiers were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross from 1956-1975.

According to the decision made by the court, commissioners agreed with the Army’s merit of the soldier.

Ellis County Judge Carol Bush said since the bridge abuts Ellis County, the court has to approve a resolution in support of the dedication. Bush said when she was contacted about the proposal she thought that it was a great distinction for somebody in our close community. She added that she thought this would be something that the commissioner’s court would want to support.

The court approved the resolution unanimously.

In other business the court

• Approved a request to grant a one-time variance from section two relating to utility service of the county rules, regulations and specifications for subdivisions and manufactured homes to allow four residential lots from meeting the minimum fire hydrant requirements. The request is located on the north side of Farm-to-Market Road 916 and west of Brindley in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Maypearl.

• Approved to grant a one-time variance from section seven relating to residential the county rules, regulations and specifications for subdivision and manufactured homes to all the construction of an additional residential structure without meeting the minimum road frontage requirement. The request is located at 226 Leisure Road in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Waxahachie.

• Approved a replat of two lots located at 4030 and 4040 Olvido Road in Waxahachie.

• Approved a replat of a single lot located on the north side of FM 780 1,260 feet south of Mohundro Drive in Ferris.

• Approved a request for the replat of seven lots located in the Maypearl Hidden Hills subdivision, which is located on the north side of DuBose Way and 1,260 feet South of Oak Branch Road in Maypearl.

• Approved the purchase from Landmark Equipment for a Brush Hog, model 3810 model mower deck for $15,661.

• Took action to approve the purchase from Taser International as a sole source vendor to Ellis County.

• Took no action to approve a 2006 Chevrolet Impala and 2008 Ford Crown Victoria as surplus.

• Approved for the county judge to sign the Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions Schedule A for the District Attorney’s Office.

• Approved for the county judge to sign Lexis Nexis upgrade amendment for the District Attorney’s Office.

• Took no action to enact a burn ban for Ellis County.

• Approved to accept the application of Daniel Ballard to serve on the Emergency Services District No. 3 for a term through Dec. 31, 2017.

• Approved to exercise the two option years of the Everbridge services agreement originally approved on April 24, 2014.

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