Veterans of foreign wars who didn’t graduate from high school can apply between now and Oct. 14 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 16th “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.

County Superintendent of Schools Edwin Gomez said 375 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 generally scheduled either immediately before or after Veterans Day, Nov. 11. However, due to the coronavirus public health lockdown in 2020 and ongoing concerns last November, formal ceremonies were skipped.

Officials said this year’s ceremony is slated to be in person, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 10, in the County Office of Education Board Room, 3939 13th St., Riverside.

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, or requested from Peter Daniels at or 951-826-6642.

Paperwork must be submitted by the Oct. 14 application deadline.

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