Veterans of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars who didn’t graduate from high school have until Oct. 15 to apply 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 “Operation Recognition” program since it was initiated in 2007. Some of the county residents awarded diplomas have been over 90 years old.

The 14th ceremony for new graduation certificate recipients had been planned just after Veterans Day in November at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center. Because of ongoing public health lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, no ceremony will be held this year. Instead, the Office of Education will mail graduation certificates to qualifying applicants.

Forms can be downloaded at, or requested via telephone through Tracey Case at 951-826-6570. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Oct. 15, or they cannot be processed.

Relatives of a loved one who served but has since died may also apply for a posthumously awarded certificate.

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.

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