Skip to comments.Army Allows a Sikh Doctor to Serve Wearing a Turban
Posted on 10/24/2009 10:49:48 AM PDT by BGHater
The Army will make an exception to a decades-old rule and allow a Sikh doctor to serve without removing his turban and cutting his hair, an advocacy group said Friday.
The doctor, Capt. Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi of Riverdale, N.J., is the first Sikh to be allowed to go on active duty with a turban, beard and unshorn hair in more than 20 years, the New York-based Sikh Coalition said.
The decision does not overturn an Army policy from the 1980s that regulates the wearing of religious items, the acting deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Gina Farrisee, wrote in a letter to Captain Kalsi dated Thursday and posted online by the Sikh Coalition.
Instead, the Armys decision follows a longstanding practice of deciding such requests on a case-by-case basis, the letter said. General Farrisee said the Army had weighed Captain Kalsis request against factors such as unit cohesion, morale, discipline, safety and/or health.
There is no indication that the overall policy is being reconsidered, said an Army spokeswoman, Jill Mueller, adding that she could not confirm that the Army had reached a decision in the case until she received word from her superiors that Captain Kalsi himself had been notified.
But the Sikh Coalition director, Amardeep Singh, said he was hopeful that the Army would announce a full policy shift.
This bodes well for the future, he said. My guess is the Armys going to be seeing a lot more Sikhs requesting to be a part of the Army.
Captain Kalsi, 32, is an emergency room doctor. He promised to serve in the Army in exchange for help paying for his medical training. A second, similar case that of Capt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan will be decided after he receives the results of his dental board exams, Mr. Singh said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
OK by me.
Sikhs aren’t muslims.........
Sikh’s aren’t radical Muslims.
It’s about time they wake up. We allowed this for years, and stopped it for really dumb reasons.
Sikh’s are good people and very loyal. It doesn’t hurt that they are good fighters, too. LOL
very slippery slope...just wait
I don’t want to comment because sikhs are good people, but these kinds of “exceptions” to the uniform are a slippery slope that will eventually end up with some US soldiers wearing muslim garb while Christians will still have to conceal their cross under their t-shirt.
Makes sense. He’s a doctor. Combat troops would be a different story with helmet safety issues.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
I like Sihks but this is a very wimpy mistake by the pentagon.
The ONLY reason this is being allowed is because of the very critical lack of doctors. Had the Army been flush with doctors this would not have happened and they would have been shown the door. Simple as that.
Yeah. At least the troops, seeing the turban, will be reassured in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise be if they were to see a doctor of another race.
Sikhs aren’t muslims in any way, actually they don’t get along.
“Will female Islamic doctors and nurses be allowed to wear full burhka outfits in the military?”
If they’re of the proper camoflage pattern.
Now I want to see an army digital camo burkha...
There goes the Military!!! You can’t make rules for a certain GROUP!! EVERY GROUP WNTS SOMETHING!!!
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Sikhs are bada$$ warriors too, excellent fighters.
They are sort of the Klingons of Earth.
Fighting Buddhists from the sky?
I mean, it's really a pretty cool turban the guy's sporting, don't you think?
Just playing devil’s advocate....when was the last time a US medical unit got gassed?
BTW, former infantry officer here. I’m honestly not sure how I come down on this yet. On the one hand, most of the Army’s grooming regulations are fairly arbitrary, and could easily be modified on a more or less per-unit basis. Hell, SF and Rangers go on relaxed grooming standards all the time. On the other, there is the need for overall unit cohesion, and we don’t want to get in the business of favoring one religion over another.
This irritates the hell out of me and I disagree completely, this is the military not a democracy. You either comply or you don’t and if you don’t your out.
Where does it end? Pedophiles ok as long as they fight well?
Good for ‘em.
In the military, I’ve seen Mormons wear their religious underwear, Orthodox Jews wear their Tallit katan and non-Orthodox Jews wear a yamulke.
I’ve also seen plenty of personnel with shaving waivers.
So I say again, good for ‘em. Even better if they’re good doctors, too. The Army really could stand to get some better doctors.
BS. Disagree all you like, it’s your right. I served (U.S. Army), side by side, with several Sikhs, and I’m damned proud of it.
Actually, how dare you even compare a Sikh with a pedophile, asshat!
Your ignorance is astounding.
What about the obvious compromise-a camouflage turban?
If there’s one thing America is great at, it’s compromise between disparate groups.
heck, I’d take a unit of gurkhas in burkhas over DUs in ACUs
OK by me. My eye doctor and surgeon is a Sikh and he can wear whatever he wants to. The Army will survive very nicely.
I believe the Brits are working on a turban with ballistic protection to be worn vice helmet in combat.
Ha, Muslims don’t get along with any other group!
I’ve served with numerous different types of people as well, different backgrounds, religions, race, points of views etc like anyone else who’s served but they all wore the same uniform and conformed to the same set of rules as everyone else.
Nothing wrong with Sikhs and there was no comparison to pedophiles. The point being made is where do you draw the line on what you’ll make exceptions for. There should be no exceptions period and if anyone is joining up, Doctors or otherwise, then they know what they are getting into and should comply.
That’s common sense not ignorance.
Let’s say the army said no and the good doctor resigned his commission. Who would benefit under that scenario? The doctor? No. The physician starved army? No. who?
Got that right, FRiend.
One man doesn’t make an Army and the Army would be doing the same thing it has for the last 234 years of the Army’s existence without this exception. If the “good doctor” is truely a patriot and wants to serve then a haircut, shave and a standard uniform is not asking to much.
So I’ll ask you, where do you draw the line on the exceptions you make? Why is fair to make an exception for this guy (relgious belief) and not others?
This website makes numerous comparisons between conservative values versus the “RINO’s” and how we need to vote the RINO’s out of office and maintain our conservative views. RINO’s are people who have made exceptions to their conservative views and beliefs. Once it starts where does it end. That’s the whole point.
We've been making religious exceptions for awhile now. CO status has been permitted for certain religions for all the time I can remember.
So I guess that means it'll never happen, right?
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
Didn't say that. Just making a point, albeit indirectly, that he's not exactly in a high-risk MOS. heck, is the guy even *issued* a promask?
Like another poster stated, shaving profiles (sometimes permanent) get granted all the time.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.