Veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam 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.

Superintendent Judy White said 362 veterans have received diplomas under the county Office of Education’s 14th “Operation Recognition” program since it was initiated in 2007. Some of the Riverside County residents awarded diplomas have been over 90 years old.

In the past, in-person ceremonies have been held at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center, immediately before or after Veterans Day. However, because of ongoing coronavirus concerns, there will be no graduation celebration this year. Instead, the Office of Education will mail graduation certificates to qualifying applicants, officials said.

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.

Forms can be downloaded at, or requested via telephone through Tracey Case at 951-826-6570. Paperwork must be submitted by the Oct. 15 application deadline.

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