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Program Grants High School Diplomas to Qualifying Vets Who Went to War Before Graduating

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jack Conners to expand to Korean and Vietnam wars veterans a program that awards diplomas to New Jersey military men and women who went to war prior to graduating was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.

The 2002 program, “Operation Recognition,” currently awards state-endorsed high school diplomas to WWI and WWII veterans who attended high school in New Jersey but enrolled in military service prior to graduation.

“Because of a sense of patriotism or a poor position in the draft, many high school students in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s did not graduate before shipping off to war,” said Conners (D-Camden). “Expanding Operation Recognition to include veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts will finally allow them to get their diplomas.”

Under the bill (A-515), the existing Operation Recognition program would be expanded to include honorably discharged veterans of the Korean conflict who served between June 23, 1950 and January 31, 1955 and honorably discharged veterans of the Vietnam conflict who served between December 31, 1960 and May 7, 1975 who attended high school in the state but left prior to graduation in order to serve in the armed forces. In cases of a deceased service member meeting the criteria, the family of the veteran would be apply for the diploma.

“So many brave men and women put their lives on hold to defend ours during the Korean and Vietnam wars,” said Conners. “Allowing them this small measure of closure is the least we can do to honor their sacrifice.”

The Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously released the measure. It now heads to the Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.

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