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Operation Recognition Program

Veterans’ Voices is a new column directed toward veterans and their families who have given so much to ensure our freedom in this country. This is an area where you may share your experiences, or read of other veterans’ experiences. We thank you for your service, and hope that you know how much you are loved and appreciated.

War veterans get your high school diploma

A few years ago, when I was volunteering at the VA hospital in Fresno, I learned about Operation Recognition Program that then-President Donald Trump initiated. This program qualifies veterans that left high school early and went to war, can come back, and get their Honorary High School diploma. I left high school six months before I graduated, and I applied for this program and was awarded an Honorary High School Diploma after proper documentation.

During times of war, thousands of us men and women across this country left high school and the comforts of our homes and hearth to serve gallantly in the armed forces. Our sacrifices ensured our freedom and shaped the course of history throughout the world. After the wars ended, many of us were not able to finish high school for various reasons but led productive lives and build our communities over our lifetime. On our return, it was necessary to immediately support our families and that was our first priority.

In recognition of these outstanding contributions, the Washington State Legislature passed three bills to issue high school diplomas to Veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. “Operation Recognition” is being instituted through individual school districts to award full high school diplomas to qualifying veterans. They feel this is a small, overdue gesture of this society’s gratitude for the sacrifices these veterans made in the name of freedom

Veterans who left high school to join the military during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam are eligible to receive a high school diploma if:

• Is an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States.

• Was scheduled to graduate from high school, and

• Left high school before graduation to serve in the war.

Veterans who received a GED are still eligible to receive a high school diploma. Diplomas can be awarded posthumously.

The Vietnam Era includes the period beginning on Feb. 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975.

The application and honorable discharge information should be mailed to the high school the veteran or their family member is requesting the diploma from. (Veterans may apply either to the high school they would have graduated from, a high school in their local community, or a high school to which they have ties.)

The law gives school districts the option of participating in this program.

If the veteran does not have a copy of their military discharge papers, they can be requested from the National Personnel Records Center.

Or if you have ever registered at the VA Hospital in your area, they will have a copy of your DD214 there at the records department. Also, if you have ever applied for VA disability, that Service Officer will also have a copy.

If you still have concerns or issues getting this done, do not hesitate to contact me for further guidance. Remember, we are all in this together. Email any thoughts to

• • •

— Royal D. Goodman, U.S. Army/Vietnam,

1st Cav/9th Infantry


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