Veterans of foreign wars who didn’t graduate from high school can apply between now and Oct. 15 for graduation certificates issued through a Riverside County program that awards diplomas to former airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines who gave up school to serve their country.

The county Office of Education this year will conduct its 13th “Operation Recognition” program for the benefit of veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. Under the program, vets are eligible to receive certificates even though they never finished school.

County Superintendent of Schools Judy White said 354 veterans have received diplomas under Operation Recognition since the program was initiated in 2007. Some of the Riverside County residents awarded diplomas have been over 90 years old.

Ceremonies are always immediately before or after Veterans Day.

Operation Recognition is based on California Education Code 51440, which permits the retroactive granting of graduation certificates to honorably discharged or retired veterans who served while the country was on a war footing. All they have to do is sign up.

The application deadline is Oct. 15. Forms can be downloaded at www.rcoe.us/operationrecognition, or requested via telephone through Tracey Case at 951-826-6570.

This year’s graduation ceremony is scheduled for the afternoon of Nov. 12 at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center.

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