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From one Gorilla to another

Lt. Col. Doug Cochran, 58th Fighter Squadron commander, presents Senior Airman Lee Wright with the Purple Heart for his actions following the KhobarTowers attack during a ceremony July 1996 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. Doug Cochran, 58th Fighter Squadron commander, presents Senior Airman Lee Wright with the Purple Heart for his actions following the KhobarTowers attack during a ceremony July 1996 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. Doug Cochran, 58th Fighter Squadron commander, presents Senior Airman Lee Wright with the Purple Heart for his actions following the KhobarTowers attack during a ceremony July 1996 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Cochran assumes command of the 58th Fighter Squadron during a change of command ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, June 10, 2019. Cochran's father was the commander of the same squadron over 20 years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Amber Litteral)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla --

On June 10, 2019, Lt. Col. David Cochran assumed command of the 58th Fighter Squadron from Lt. Col. Jon Synder at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Interestingly enough, David’s father, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Doug Cochran, was in the same position over 20 years ago when he was the commander of the 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron at the time of the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996.

 

“My dad has always been my role model without a doubt,” said David. “Growing up and seeing what a good leader looks like through him is something I can look back on and use in my life now.”

 

David grew up in the military lifestyle and it had a large impact on him. He always knew he wanted to serve in the Air Force however, his parents gave him opportunities to explore other avenues and be open- minded. Even so, David was drawn back to his roots with the Air Force.

 

“It’s really hard growing up around fighter pilots and not catching the bug a little bit,” said David. “You see these folks that are working 12-13 hours a day and they’re actually excited to go to work.”

 

From Doug’s perspective, David forged his own path. It has all been pure coincidence that both father and son have served in the military as fighter pilots and commanders of the same squadron years apart. 

 

“Our children have blazed their own careers,” said Doug. “[David] isn’t here because he was following in my footsteps, it’s all been by chance.”

 

Doug was excited when he heard his son was going to assume command over the same squadron that welcomed him and his family with open arms when his children were just teenagers. He is confident his son will do right by the squadron.

 

“My son is a lot smarter and capable than I ever was and he’s going to go out and do great things,” said Doug. “He doesn’t have to hang on to my legacy to do it.”

 

David is looking forward to being the commander of the 58th FS and all the responsibility the position entails.

 

“My goals and priorities for the squadron are to take care of the people and make sure they have the right training, tools and equipment for the mission,” said David. “We are growing the F-35 community and that is the huge emphasis right now.”