Voices of Veterans: Frank Kocman

By: Sylvia Villarreal Email
By: Sylvia Villarreal Email

Frank Kocman served his country during World War Two. He's a born and raised Brazos County resident who says the time he spent in the service forever changed his life.

Kocman hadn't been anywhere but home, but that all changed when he was drafted and served his country during World War II. He joined the army in July 1944 and spend some time at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio and five months into his military career, he arrived at his next destination.

Kocman says, "When I was in boot camp up here at Camp Hood on December 21st the post commander called everybody in that's in training. I'd been training to go to the southwest Pacific, I knew that because I was running my bayonet through a straw dummy that had a Japanese helmet on."

The once raw recruit soon found himself on the front lines and when a fellow service was injured, Frank was ordered to fill that position.

"The company executive officer hollered out, yelled out at me if I had the spare batteries, I said I do and he said well pick that radio up and come with me and in that instance, I became the radio man without any training," Kocman remembers.

But no matter how much training he'd had, nothing prepared him for the crossing of the Rhine River.

Kocman says, "These were two plywood boats. I think they held 16 men, 8 in the front section and 16 in the back section and they were joined in the middle with a pivot a rod that went down. The hole locked like a hinge. This boat has no motor. The motor is oar propelled. Muscled propelled, 16 manpower."

Though some of his companions didn't make it home, Frank was one of the lucky ones.

"You'll see my medals, I don't have a Purple Heart, I did not get scratched," says Kocman.

These days, as Frank Kocman talks about his service to his country, he does so with pride, a pride he wishes others can share.

Kocman says proudly, "I'm pro military. I believe that every young man and woman should be exposed to the military in some way, hopefully not through a war, but just the training that it gives is worth that."

After returning to Bryan, thanks to the G-I Bill, Frank Kocman enrolled at Texas A&M and received a degree in accounting.

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