A 93-year-old World War II veteran finally earned his high school diploma more than 75 years after dropping out to join the Civilian Conservation Corps as a paramedic.
Cpl. Robert Lockard received his diploma last week, more than 75 years after leaving Circleville High School, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Bob Lockard amassed a host of honors, awards, medals and accolades during his almost four years in the service during WWII, but the one thing he never did earn was a high school diploma. That’s going to change Sunday. https://t.co/sJew6ViRkw
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) May 29, 2018
In March 1943, Lockard was drafted into the Army Air Corps and first served as a cook. But following heavy losses in the Battle of the Bulge, he retrained as a rifleman in the infantry and fought in the European theater.
During the war, Lockard fought in central Europe and in Normandy.
“We went over on the landing craft; we had the vehicles with us. Any time the front would move up, we would move up in the trucks,” Lockard recalled. “There were German soldiers stacked up 5-foot high, as far as I could see. There was a bulldozer scooting them towards the ocean. I stopped one and asked him what he was doing; I didn’t think it was right. And he said it was the only way to keep the stink down. So I shook my head and went back to my group.”
After the war, he drove trucks around the country and became a recruiter in the Ohio Army National Guard.
Lockard later joined the Soldiers Monumental Association and got married.
“I gave them a donation and [my wife and I] became life members,” he said. “I wanted to do something for my hometown. I may not live there now but it’s still my hometown.”
Lockard said he always wanted to get his high school diploma, but never got around to getting it.
“Bob is very excited about this honor that was 74 years in the making, and so are we,” Superintendent Jonathan Davis told the Columbus Dispatch.
Lockard was able to receive his diploma due to a 2006 law passed in Ohio that allows veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam to receive a high school diploma if they meet certain criteria.