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Vietnam Vets to Join WW II, Korean War Vets in Receiving H.S. Diplomas

Board of Education to Honor Qualifying Applicants

Two Operation Recognition diploma recipients pose in front of an American flag

Two recipients of Operation Recognition diplomas.

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) has expanded its popular Operation Recognition program to provide high school diplomas to qualifying Vietnam War veterans.

The Operation Recognition program was adopted in October 2001 by the Sacramento County Board of Education to honor the contributions and sacrifices of individuals who missed completing high school to serve in the U.S. military (specifically World War II or the Korean War) or relocate to a World War II internment camp for Japanese American citizens.

At the next local Operation Recognition diploma ceremony, scheduled for May 24, 2006, Sacramento County's qualifying Vietnam War veterans will also be presented with their high school diplomas, joined by Japanese American citizens and veterans of World War II and the Korean War.

"Many young people set aside their education to serve our country during the Vietnam War," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools Dave Gordon. "After serving, many left the military, went straight to work, and did not return to school. We believe it's time to offer this gesture of gratitude to those who served during the Vietnam era."

Residents of Sacramento County are encouraged to request diplomas on behalf of themselves or qualifying family members, including those who are now deceased. April 21, 2006, is the deadline to submit applications. The Sacramento County Board of Education is scheduled to hold its next Operation Recognition diploma awards ceremony on May 24, 2006.

Operation Recognition applications are available by mail from: Operation Recognition, P.O. Box 269003, Sacramento, CA 95826-9003. To request that an application be mailed, call (916) 228-2449. Applications are also available from the Sacramento County Veterans Service Office, located in midtown Sacramento at 2007-19th Street.

Qualifications that must be met in order to receive an Operation Recognition diploma include:

  1. Applicant/recipient is a Sacramento County resident;
  2. Veterans — show proof of Honorable Discharge from U.S. military service occurring during WW II (served December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946), the Korean War (served June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955), or the Vietnam War (served February 28, 1961-May 7, 1975);
  3. Japanese American citizens — show proof of internment in a WW II relocation camp; and
  4. Veterans and Japanese American citizens — give the name of high school applicant was attending at the time of induction into military service or internment.

An application may be submitted by a family member of a qualifying individual, living or deceased. Those who meet the qualifications but earned a GED are also eligible. People living outside Sacramento County will be referred to their local county office of education.

California law (Education Code §51440) authorizes the granting of retroactive high school diplomas to eligible veterans. California Assembly Bill 781 was enacted as law (Education Code §51430) on January 1, 2004, specifically authorizing the retroactive granting of diplomas to people whose internment by federal order in World War II prevented them from graduating from their hometown high school. High school diplomas have been awarded to 71 individuals through Sacramento County's Operation Recognition program since 2001. Four of the diplomas were awarded posthumously.