War veterans honored 50 years later with high school diplomas

MORENO VALLEY – Seven veterans who never finished high school due to their military service in war dating back to World War II will finally be receiving their diplomas in special ceremonies Monday, Nov. 13, in Moreno Valley. Among those honored veterans will be four from the Temecula and San Jacinto valleys.

The high school diploma presentation is done through the efforts of the Riverside County Board of Education, the Riverside County Office of Education and the Riverside County of Veterans’ Services in a program called “Operation Recognition.”

The local veterans who will be receiving diplomas are James Morris from Canyon Lake who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War; Timothy Basquez from San Jacinto who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War; Mark Salesky of San Jacinto who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and Joseph Harrison of Perris who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

Veterans from Riverside and Corona who will be receiving their diplomas are Manual Blunt from Riverside who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War; Edward Clark of Norco who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and Robert Hotchkiss of Riverside who served with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

Operation Recognition, since its inception in 2007, has presented more than 300 diplomas to residents of Riverside County who missed completing high school due to their military service in World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War and those due to internment in World War II Japanese-American relocation camps.

The 2017 Operation Recognition program will be held 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at the Moreno Valley Conference Center, 14075 Fredrick St. in Moreno Valley. The servicemen will meet and receive their diplomas nearly 50 years later in fitting ceremonies during Veterans Day week.

The program is authorized by Education Code Section 51440 and 51430. The program is open to current residents of Riverside County whose high school education was interrupted by military service in the three past wars.

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