Diploma - Photo courtesy of George Rudy on Shutterstock

Two veterans of foreign wars who didn’t graduate from high school will receive diplomas Thursday as part of a Riverside County program that provides graduation certificates to former airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines who gave up school to serve their country.

The county Office of Education will conduct its 16th Operation Recognition ceremony, honoring two military vets who applied to receive their certificates after learning about the program. The men’s names were not disclosed.

Veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars qualify to receive certificates even though they never finished school.

County Superintendent of Schools Edwin Gomez said 375 veterans have received diplomas under the program since it was initiated in 2007. Some of the county residents have been over 90 years old.

This year’s ceremony will take place Thursday morning at the County Office of Education Board Room. According to officials, one recipient will be there in person, but it was unclear whether the other vet would be attending virtually, or requesting that his certificate be mailed to him.

Due to the coronavirus public health lockdown in 2020 and ongoing concerns last November, formal ceremonies were canceled.

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.

Additional information is available at www.rcoe.us/operationrecognition.

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