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 is conducting its 15th “Operation Recognition” program for the benefit of veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. The program provides an opportunity for qualifying vets to receive certificates even though they never finished school.

Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Edwin Gomez said 373 veterans have received diplomas under Operation Recognition since it was initiated in 2007. Some of the county residents awarded diplomas have been over 90 years old.

Ceremonies are scheduled either immediately before or after Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center.

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

Forms can be downloaded at www.rcoe.us/operationrecognition, or requested via telephone through Deborah Sofia at 951-826-6376, or by emailing her at dsofia@rcoe.us.

Paperwork must be submitted by the Oct. 15 application deadline.

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