Darrell Cochran enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1976 after receiving his bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University. During his 20-year career in Army public affairs he served at posts in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, as well as three tours in Korea. He was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs at the Pentagon from 1988-1992, where he was the senior editor of the Army News Service, and later the senior editor of SOLDIERS, the Army's flagship publication. He retired in 1996 as the public affairs noncommissioned officer in charge at headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Following his retirement from active duty, Cochran worked for Symvionics Incorporated at the Washington Navy Yard while completing his master's degree in communication from the University of Oklahoma. He joined the U.S. Information Agency in 1999 as a web editor and Washington File writer. He moved to his current position in the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) in 2001 and now serves as one of IIP's principal liaisons with embassy staffs overseas, advising them on Section 508 compliance and information collection.