Sydney Cole dropped out of his Buffalo, New York, high school in the 1930s. Rejected by the U.S. Army Air Corps before America entered the war, Cole headed across the border and joined the Canadian Royal Air Force.
He was discharged after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and joined the U.S. Army in 1943.
Cole was piloting an artillery observation plane during the Battle of the Bulge when he was shot down in early 1945. He spent the next four months in a German POW camp.
Cole received his diploma Friday and 10 medals, including a Purple Heart and Bronze Medal.