WATCH: Korean War Veteran Receives High School Diploma 70 Years Later

February 8, 2021Matt Fratus
Vince Golembiowski, Korean War veteran gets high school diploma

Vince Golembiowski joined the Air Force before graduating from high school. For decades he told his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren how he always wished he had received his high school diploma. His family helped him achieve that dream 70 years later.

At 17, Vince Golembiowski left his hometown of Clyde, Ohio, to enlist in the US Air Force and fight in the Korean War. He had completed his GED certificate his senior year but went overseas before his high school graduation. For years the veteran told his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that one of his greatest regrets was not receiving his high school diploma. Although it has been 70 years since he left school, his family ensured his lifelong dream would come true. On Christmas Day his son, Michael, surprised him with the news he would be receiving his diploma from Clyde High School.

“I was actually sitting in Fremont one afternoon, and it was actually a thing on one of the local TV stations of some gentleman in his 90s that received his college degree,” Michael Golembiowski told WTOL. “So I got to thinking, ‘Well, you never see anybody getting their high school diploma at that age.’”

The diploma was given to his father at the Clyde-Green Springs school board meeting on Jan. 26.

“At age 88, they just give me my high school diploma, which is a miracle,” Golembiowski told ABC News. “There are six of us left from the class of 1950, and we still see each other.”

With his diploma in his hand, this Air Force veteran was as surprised as he was grateful. “I’ve had the opportunity to be a crew chief on the F-86 jet fighter. Crew chief on the C-54 four-engine transport. I’ve shaken the hand of Syngman Rhee, the president of South Korea,” Golembiowski said. With a smile, he added, “I never, ever, at 88 years old … I had no idea at all something like this is possible. But boy, I’m totally grateful. Now I can go out and get a job. I got a diploma.”

Read Next: That Time an 88-Year-Old Korean War Veteran Karate Chopped Would-Be Robbers in London

Matt Fratus
Matt Fratus

Matt Fratus is a history staff writer for Coffee or Die. He prides himself on uncovering the most fascinating tales of history by sharing them through any means of engaging storytelling. He writes for his micro-blog @LateNightHistory on Instagram, where he shares the story behind the image. He is also the host of the Late Night History podcast. When not writing about history, Matt enjoys volunteering for One More Wave and rooting for Boston sports teams.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved