Support our mission

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa — When it came to saving a life, Marine Staff Sgt. Kwan Cochrane didn’t stop to think about it. Instead, he reacted.

In January, Cochrane, 32, was playing in the Martin Luther King Invitational Basketball Tournament at Camp Foster when he saw referee John Zivic collapse from heart problems.

"It was like second nature. As soon as he went down, it was like an instant reaction, boom, I was straight over there," he said. "He was turning blue in the face, I tilted his head back and started mouth-to-mouth."

Cochrane, a maintenance administrator with the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262, is credited with reviving Zivic using cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Cochrane’s actions were recognized by the American Red Cross on Thursday when he was presented with a "Certificate of Recognition for Extraordinary Personal Action."

This was the first time the award had been given out in two years, said Red Cross assistant station manager Jana Fullmer.

Several other servicemembers, including Army medic Jacqueline Kershaw of Camp Casey in South Korea, assisted in aiding Zivic. Officials credit Cochrane with being the first responder to administer lifesaving aid.

Cochrane credits a higher power, however, for saving Zivic’s life.

"I think it was the Lord above that did all that," he said. "I just happened to be in the right place to assist." Zivic, 72, a retired Air Force master sergeant, eventually recovered after spending two months at Urasoe Heart Center and undergoing rehabilitation to walk again. A familiar face on the basketball court, Zivic has been refereeing for 42 years.

Nearly seven months after the incident, Cochrane had a chance to chat with Zivic for the first time Wednesday.

"It was a very emotional meeting; we hugged several times," he said.

Cochrane said he was Red Cross certified in the mid-1990s, and he never thought his first-aid skills would be put to such serious use.

"That’s the funny thing, once you learn something like that, you never forget how to use it, and this was a testimony to that," he said.

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up