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War Veterans Who Entered Military Before Finishing High School Receive Their Diplomas

Veterans Day, Monday Nov. 11, Civic Center Park, Palm Desert. Palm Desert Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
Veterans Day, Monday Nov. 11, Civic Center Park, Palm Desert. Palm Desert Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
Thirteen U.S. military veterans who chose to serve their country before finishing high school, including Korea and Vietnam veterans from Banning, Calimesa and Hemet, now possess the diplomas they missed receiving decades earlier.

Graduation certificates were awarded to the Riverside County residents as part of the Office of Education's "Operation Recognition" program.

"I thought about the diploma. It did matter. But I was doing what I wanted to do," said Ruben Zamora of Riverside, who served in both the Army and Navy, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. "I have my diploma. Now I plan to enroll at Riverside Community College next year."

Zamora and 10 other men were personally congratulated by Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Young at a ceremony held Tuesday Nov. 12 at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center. Family members of two other veterans accepted posthumous diplomas on behalf of their loved ones.

The 13 recipients, in alphabetical order:

-- Austin Elmer Lee Acord of Riverside, Army, World War II

-- David M. Barnes of Temecula, Marines, Vietnam War

-- Kenneth James Becker of Riverside, Navy, Vietnam War

-- Raymond Frederick Carter of Nuevo, Army and Navy, World War II, Korean War (awarded posthumously)

-- Robert Dale Cloyd of Murrieta, Navy, Vietnam War

-- Michael William Divel of Palm Desert, Navy, Vietnam War

-- Alan F. Gonsalves of Calimesa, Navy, Korean War

-- Larry James Lyon of Riverside, Army, Vietnam War

-- Cruz Martinez of Banning, Army, Korean War

-- Frank Ramirez Rodriguez of Riverside, Army, World War II (awarded
posthumously)

-- Frank Sandwell of Riverside, Navy, Vietnam War

-- Samson Charles Trevino of Hemet, Army, Vietnam War;

-- Zamora.

"Following their service, the veterans went on to lead productive, successful lives, contributing to their country and community," said Grant Gautsche, interim director of the county's Department of Veterans Services. "But they were missing something - completing their high school education and receiving their high school diploma."

Under Operation Recognition, vets are eligible to receive their graduation certificates even though they never finished high school. The program is based on California Education Code 51440, which permits the retroactive granting of graduation certificates to honorably discharged or retired service members. All they have to do is sign up, according to county officials.

The program began in 2007. Since then, more than 230 veterans who reside in the county have received their diplomas.

Reported by City News Service
becky November 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM
My uncle was a world war II -pow he is no longer with us passed away a year ago I think he still should get a diploma just saying
Guy McCarthy (Editor) November 14, 2013 at 01:38 AM
Email me Becky guy.mccarthy@patch.com

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