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 Recognizing Those who Didn’t Graduate Because of War

Do you know somebody who lives in San Diego County and had to leave high school before getting a diploma because of war?

You may be able to help them get an honorary diploma through Operation Recognition.

Through the statewide program, the San Diego County Board of Education grants honorary high school diplomas to veterans of World War II, Korean War, and the Vietnam War who left school to join the military and to Japanese-Americans who left school to go to internment camps.

"It makes me feel good," Yoshiko Golden said after receiving her diploma through the program in 2013. Golden had to leave high school in 1942 when her family was moved to an internment camp.

Applications for the program are available on the San Diego County Office of Education's (SDCOE) Operation Recognition Web page

Family members of deceased San Diego County residents may also apply for posthumous recognition.

Susan Yamate helped start Operation Recognition at SDCOE in 2004 after hearing about a similar program in Sacramento. Yamate's mother received her high school diploma retroactively after being moved to an internment camp during World War II.

"I saw how my mom and others seemed to have a sense of closure by receiving a diploma and recognition," she said. "It was important to me that the San Diego County Office of Education join the other county offices of education around the state to support this cause."


Operation Recognition Recipients from the San Diego County Office of Education 

World War II:

  • Ralph Sarmiento
  • Thomas Gravelle
  • Charles Lewis Richard (awarded posthumously)
  • Theodore Acosta
  • Roy Edward Shult
  • Alfred Silva
  • Kenneth Max Harwood


  • Joseph Farrell

Internment Camps:

Follow the links above to read more about the honoree.