Gerald M. Kochan, born in 1956 in Lorain, Ohio, was destined for a life of public service. His parents served others during their lives: His father was a soldier in World War II and his mother worked in the community performing various charitable services. Treading in his parents’ footsteps, Kochan developed a keen sense of duty and responsibility as a young man. As he grew older, he fleshed out this sense through a series of projects designed to inform and educate the public about things he thought were important, such as the history of obscure Polish military units that never find their way into textbooks or historical treatises.
Kochan has three university degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history from Miami University, an MBA from the University of South Florida and a Master’s in strategic studies from the National Defense University. His intense commitment allowed him to not only achieve these academic degrees but also to serve as a commissioned officer in the Armed Forces of the United States. He’s also brought his expertise to the other side of the classroom and has both trained both U.S. and Foreign officers and men. Because he is fluent in several languages and has specialized in these countries as a military officer, he also continues to serve the Defense Department under contract.
In between his other duties, Kochan has also produced and directed several documentary films. The most notable of these is “White Eagle in Borrowed Skies.” It is the story of the Polish Air Force and chronicles their battle history after being exiled from Poland after the combined attacks by Nazi Germany and Russia. He also plans to release a new documentary film based on Cornelius Ryan’s book “A Bridge Too Far.”
Kochan is also the head of the Polish American Museum and, because World War II veterans are all of advanced age, he has lately strengthened his resolve to tell their stories through both film and his museum’s efforts.
Part of his plan also involves the 70th anniversary of many decisive battles and campaigns of the second world war, chiefly Monte Cassino, The Battle of the Falaise Gap, D-Day, the Warsaw Uprising and Operation Market Garden. He plans to highlight the participation of Polish troops in these events and also the war in general.
Through the Polish American Museum’s upcoming events and workshops, Kochan aims to educate today’s Polish young people about the contributions of their direct forebears. As director of the Center for Military Studies, which is annexed to the museum, he also strives to highlight the history of generations preceding the last so that it is not forgotten
Gerald Kochan is a decorated veteran of both the Gulf and Iraq Wars and has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal. Considering his work with various charities, he has, not surprisingly, also received the Humanitarian Service Medal during his military service among his other awards. Kochan’s philanthropic pursuits include Food for the Poor, Disabled American Veterans and St. Joseph’s Indian Catholic School in South Dakota.