MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Stephen Cochran, a Marine veteran and top 40 country music star, blasted on stage with what Marines call “speed and intensity.” Rocking a motivated crew cut, Cochran brought a level of energy, excitement and espirit de corps akin to a squadron formation run.
Cochran, with the help of Marine Corps Community Services, performed a free concert at the Cherry Point Roadhouse Sept. 20.
The medically retired sergeant and his band performed a variety of tracks, from blue collar country to rock tunes. Cochran shared some of his experiences in the Marines Corps with the crowd between sets. He was involved in the invasion of Iraq with 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion in 2003.
He broke his back while deployed to Afghanistan, nearly paralyzing himself. He lost one of his best friends in combat, an experience that provides inspiration for many of his songs.
Cochran and his band performed songs like “Thinkin’ I’m Drinkin’,” to get the crowd riled up and “When a Hero Falls,” to bring them back down.
Cochran said no matter what base he steps onto or performs at he feels at home, and that Marines are his family because of the service member brother and sisterhood.
After the performance Cochran and the band hung out around the bar to connect with the Cherry Point Marines on a deeper and more personal level.
“This is the perfect example of what you should see and feel like when you step onto a military base,” said Soloman Littlefield, a guitarist in the band.
Cochran talked about his experience golfing with retired Gen. James T. Conway, 34th commandant of the Marine Corps, the most motivating moment in his career.
Cochran said he wants to represent the Marine Corps in the country music scene. There have only been a select handful of former Marine country music stars, but according to Cochran, there hasn’t been a big star who served in the Corps since George Jones, who served during the Korean War.
Marines waited in line to personally thank him for what he does and tell him how the three-hour concert had already made an impact on their lives.
Cochran welcomed all the Marines and took time to talk with each one.
At the end of the night, Cochran was on his way out the door when a Marine stopped him almost in tears and thanked him. Embracing him with a hug and a lump in his throat, Cochran said, “This is why I do what I do.”