Deceased World War II veteran Vallie Lee Engelauf’s family accepted his high school diploma on Nov. 12 as part of the Operation Recognition program. U.S. Navy Coxswain Engelauf was born in Riverside in 1926 and lived in the Rubidoux and Jurupa areas his entire life. 

During his military service, he was at Iwo Jima and witnessed the raising of the American Flag on Mount Suribachi. Engelauf comes from a family of veterans as he, his older brother George, and father William were inducted into the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Rubidoux in 2013. The awarding of his high school diploma posthumously is Engelauf’s final honor of distinguished service.

Coxswain Engelauf was awarded his high school diploma posthumously.
Photo courtesy of the Engelauf family

The Operation Recognition program awards diplomas as a joint effort of the Riverside County Board of Education, the Riverside County Office of Education and the Riverside County Department of Veterans’ Services. Since its inception in 2007, approximately 360 diplomas have been presented to residents of Riverside County who missed completing high school due to military service in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or internment in World War II Japanese-American relocation camps.