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WWII veteran earns associate degree
D-Day veteran, 93, belatedly earns a college degree

 Frank Kuhn Jr., 93, of Spotsylvania is a World War II veteran who recently received an associate degree from University of Maryland University College.
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Date published: 11/8/2010


Frank Kuhn Jr. has had his share of accomplishments over 93 years, not the least of which was surviving the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II.

His latest achievement took awhile, but it's one that few of his peers can match. In August, he received an Associate of Arts degree from University of Maryland University College.

"I'm proud of that," said Kuhn, a decorated veteran who lives with friends in Spotsylvania County.

The degree capped an educational journey that took more than 60 years to complete.

Kuhn, who still drives but is in failing health, took many college classes during a 20-year Army career.

It was not enough for the degree he wanted, in military science. But he thought he had accumulated more than enough credits for an associate degree, so a few months ago he contacted UMUC.

"I requested and received from the Army all of my papers and had all these credits. I figured, 'What the hell, why throw them away?' "

UMUC spokesman Chip Cassano said it's not uncommon for a handful of senior citizens to be among the graduates receiving degrees at commencement, but he wasn't aware of any as old as Kuhn.

"This is an unusual case. Our military advising team had worked with him directly, and when they did the math, he qualified" for the belated sheepskin.

Of about 90,000 students taking UMUC classes each year, Cassano said, upwards of 50,000 are either active-duty military, retired, in the Reserves, or dependents.

Kuhn had few educational opportunities early on. The son of Polish immigrants in Philadelphia, he quit school after eighth grade. At 21 he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal back-to-work program.

Kuhn worked with the corps in Flagstaff, Ariz., then in Norton, Va.

He returned to Philadelphia in 1940, joined the Pennsylvania National Guard and was assigned to the 103rd Combat Engineer Regiment.

His unit was activated in 1942; he built barracks in Pennsylvania for troops headed overseas.

Despite his lack of schooling, the company commander saw potential in the young private.

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