News and Information
Tarleton radio assists BBC with recording WWII vet's interview
Tarleton State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Tarleton Public Radio, KTRL 90.5 FM, in cooperation with the British Broadcasting Corporation, recently recorded an interview with World War II veteran Loel Dene “L.D.” Cox for an upcoming episode of BBC Witness, a program that brings the stories of people who lived through moments of historical importance.
Cox, an 87-year-old resident of Comanche, who graduated from John Tarleton Agricultural College in 1947 and served in the U.S. Navy, survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and five nights in shark-infested waters. He shared his harrowing account with KTRL’s general manager Eric Truax during an interview held at the veteran’s home on June 18.
Truax said representatives of BBC’s London studio contacted Tarleton Public Radio and requested their assistance by recording the interview with Cox, who is one of 38 remaining survivors of the U.S. Navy ship. The Indianapolis had just completed a top-secret mission delivering critical components for the world’s first operational atomic bomb to the island of Tinian when it was hit by two Japanese torpedoes on July 30, 1945, midway between Guam and Leyte Gulf.
Cox was one of 1,196 sailors aboard the ship when it sank in less than 12 minutes. Nearly 900 men survived the initial attack and were forced into the shark-filled waters. Of those servicemen, only 317 survived, including the then 19-year-old Cox, who floated in the ocean for four-and-a-half days and five nights before being rescued.
“I hadn’t realized that one of the survivors of the USS Indianapolis lived in the area. Then when I realized that Mr. Cox was an alumnus of Tarleton and of Texas A&M, it added a whole new dimension to the interview,” Truax said after the interview. “I’m happy that I could help him tell his story to the rest of the world through the BBC.”
BBC Witness, a history program as told by the people who were there, airs five days a week and brings listeners a personal perspective on world history.
“The British Broadcasting Corporation is one of the best, and certainly one of the oldest, broadcasters in the world,” Truax added. “When they called to ask KTRL for help in recording L.D. Cox, of course I agreed. The BBC doesn’t always have reporters on the ground where they need them, and certainly not in Comanche or Stephenville. They rely on NPR stations around the U.S. like KTRL to assist with field interviews.”
BBC Witness has tentatively scheduled to air Cox’s interview on July 30, on its domestic Radio 4 network as well as on their overseas BBC World Service, which is heard in the U.S. on many public radio stations.
Truax said KTRL 90.5 FM will have excerpts of the show to broadcast and will post portions of Cox’s interview on the radio station’s website, www.tarleton.edu/ktrl. KTRL is partnered with KAMU, Texas A&M’s public radio station.
Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System
Contact: Eric Truax, KTRL Public Radio manager