Skip to comments.Sikhs Challenge U.S. Army's Ban on Turbans, Beards [Nudists Next?]
Posted on 06/14/2009 6:04:43 PM PDT by Steelfish
Sikhs Challenge U.S. Army's Ban on Turbans, Beards Sunday, June 14, 2009
NEW YORK Military service is in Capt. Kamaljit Singh Kalsi's blood.
His father and grandfather were part of India's Air Force. His great-grandfather served in the army in India under the British. So when U.S. Army recruiters talked to him during his first year of medical school, he readily signed up.
But his plans to go on active duty in July are now on hold. An Army policy from the 1980s that regulates the wearing of religious items would mean he would need to shave his beard and remove the turban he wears in accordance with his religious precepts.
Kalsi and another Sikh man with the same concerns, Second Lt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan, are the centerpieces of an advocacy campaign launched by the Sikh Coalition as it tries to persuade the Army to let them serve without sacrificing their articles of faith.
"I'm an American, there's no reason why I can't serve," Kalsi, 32, said.
The Army has a long-standing interest in how its members carry themselves, with policies that ban exotic hair colors, long fingernails or certain colors of lipstick. Army officials declined to comment on the reasoning behind its policy that would force the Sikh men to give up their religious displays. Sikhs who were active-duty military when the policy was adopted were allowed to continue serving without shaving their beards or removing their turbans.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Give Sikhs a pass. Just my opinion.
Then act like one - shave the beard ...
The problem is a very slippery slope.
Really appreciate your patriotism, now remove the Sikhs so we can give you a buzz cut and issue you a nice helmet.
“I’m an American, there’s no reason why I can’t serve,” Kalsi, 32, said.
He’s right, he should follow the rules like every American that wants to serve and that starts with a haircut.
Conform to military standards or get out!
the RCMP had the same issue in 1994 - They caved.
They shouldnt have to shave the beard. Sikhs are very patriotc. All the great Civil war generals had a beard. It is a modern invention that really doesn’t help or hurt one’s ability to be a soldier. They way the sikhs deal with their hair, I don’t think is really an issue as well, unless they can’t get it under a helmet.
When I was in the Army we had Sikhs. They wore their sword as a photograph. The underwear we didn’t care about. The olive drab turban fit nicely under their helmets. Beards were trimmed so that gas masks fit.
Gas masks have to seal. That can be achieved with a trimmed beard.
A beard is less disruptive than open, practicing homosexuals in uniform.
Since the latter is already supposed to be coming down, I can’t see a problem with giving into the Sikhs on this one.
Rules exist for a reason. If you can’t obey them, do not enlist.
It must have been a terrible shock to him when he found out he wouldn’t be the first soldier to be allowed to have a beard.
Gas masks, helmets fitting, all of the rules appplying to everyone equally...
And so they can be modified. Israel is doing it.
They have a hell of a reputation as good soldiers in every way.
I was in during the Zumwalt yrs. I remember that. However, if the Army doesn’t allow this now...
Trust me, neither one will affect the combat efficiency of a Sikh warrior.
Has any branch of our military tested Kevlar turbans against the standard helmets and other issued headgear?
The “turban type troops” would never be without their Most Protective headgear.
I'll wager that a turban has more “stopping power” than a ball-cap or Dress uniform “class A” head gear.
Heck, our Turban troops would have their Kevlar turbans far more often than other troops have their helmets. Ergo, on average they'd be More Protected!
My dad has pictures of two Sikhs he served with in the 70’S and both are wearing turbans. Doesn’t seem to have been a problem then.
Ditto to all who said it, give Sikhs a pass.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”
In cases like this, a well regulated military can make small concessions for a greater good.
These guys are good to have, and they are no danger to good order and discipline.
Steel turbans? Exactly.
Really, this is a matter for Congress since the Supremes have ruled that in relation to military matters Congress has virtual plenary authority on the subject. Some years ago, Congress allowed the use of yarmulkes after a certain Jewish recruit lost his case to wear it as a matter of constitutional right.
Check out the Sikhs service with the British. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragarhi They’re no friends to the muslims and they have a military tradition that demands respect. I’d say let them in.
The Gurkha's also So what!!Our military has standards they either comply or get the hell out and go home. It is crazy to bend the rules for these people.
Sikhs are generally very good soldiers. The only half credible excuse for kicking them out over non-sealing protective masks is nonsense, as a large percentage of black male soldiers have facial skin that will not seal masks either, because of Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB).
Uniformity in the military is NOT so that militarists can get all excited about having an army of clones. It is solely for logistics and supply, neither of which are impacted by Sikh religious obligations.
However, Sikhs are in many cases far *better* soldiers than the ordinary good soldier. They are orderly, disciplined, professional, and responsible. This is why they tend to dominate the Indian army as a whole, and the Indian Sikh regiment is one of their most highly decorated units.
“The Battle of Saragarhi is considered one of the greatest stories of collective bravery in human history. The contingent of twenty-one soldiers from the 36th Sikhs was led by Havildar Ishar Singh, and held off an Afghan attack of 10,000 men for several hours.
“All 21 Sikh soldiers chose to fight to the death instead of surrendering. In recognition of their supreme sacrifice, the British Parliament rose to pay them respect, and each one of them was awarded the Indian Order of Merit (equivalent to the Victoria Cross).
“The battle has been compared to the Battle of Thermopylae, where a small Greek force faced a large Persian army of Xerxes (480 BC).”
I'll parlay that wager with one Betting that our Sikh troopers would grab a steel pot, when faced with “Incoming Arty”.
Its not crazy to bend rules. Part of the exercise of executive authority is knowing that rules will have to be bent occasionally. No rules were designed to apply to all possible contingencies. When circumstances exceed normal parameters, then it is prudent to bend rules.
This sort of thing runs through all true experience of military service.
The new MICH helmets are about as comfortable as you can get.
And this guy needs to shutup and move out or get kicked out. What a freakin’ turd. The military has well-known standards, especially if he’s an O-3. He’s just trying to make waves. My old Battalion Commander would have a field day with this idiot.
Not a chance. Even if this guy's the Ultimate Super Soldier, you have no idea the can of worms this opens up if he's given a pass. We have rules. Obey them or get out. It's that simple.
To get to this type of comraderie, all of the recruits have to look the same, sound the same, march the same, talk, eat, sleep, crap and generally get robotized before they can rely on each other.
If the Sikhs want to go through that and AFTER getting assigned grow their beards back, and wear their tubans, I see no problem with it. Sikhs are fanatic friends and fearsome fighters. Any of the services should welcome them.
That is failing to look at the cost-benefit ratio here. Think about what Emerson said about “Foolish consistency”.
Lets put it this way - just from the point of view of public image - Sikhs in turbans as US soldiers and officers would have a wonderfully -er- “complex” effect on the perceptions in much of the world, and on political opponents of the US military. Sikhs are particularly interesting BECAUSE of their turbans.
Just as a for instance, if such a person retired and showed up as a JROTC officer in San Francisco, turban and all, the local leftoids would be tearing their hair out. I can just imagine the next school board meeting.
Think of this too - hardly anything would be as powerful a PR statement in India in favor of a US alliance than the sight of an obvious Indian officer of high rank in the US armed forces; its a statement that “we think you guys are great. Great enough to entrust our men to men like you”.
A regular and obvious Indian would be a good thing, but there is no way to miss a Sikh. Thats the messaging equivalent of a Las Vegas casino sign in animated neon.
And so forth.
Seems to me this might be a case of the US pays for my medical school, and then I don’t have to fullfill my part.
They had to know before that turbans weren’t part of the uniform.
If he don’t like the way we do things in America he can go back to where he came from. We want miss him.
“Its not crazy to bend rules. Part of the exercise of executive authority is knowing that rules will have to be bent occasionally. No rules were designed to apply to all possible contingencies. When circumstances exceed normal parameters, then it is prudent to bend rules.
This sort of thing runs through all true experience of military service”
Hell why have rules at all? everybody does what they want!
Him, by himself, not much. Thats just one man.
The example though isn’t good for the national interest.
Them, yes you will miss them. You want them. Think it through. Back home (India) where they have a good bit of a cultural inferiority complex and can be a bit subconsciously touchy about these things, this isn’t going to be good PR. There are a LOT of Indians, and lots of people the Indians bring along elsewhere. They have serious pull already, and they are up-and-coming.
We WANT these people as allies, good friends, inseparable if possible. Thats a benefit worth several divisions. Forgiving a few token turbans is a VERY small price for a powerful political gesture.
I am not budging.
I want miss any of them. They can all go jump in the lake as far I care.
I have met and worked with many Sikhs (including ex Military types) and I respect them enormously.
I believe this insistence on “rules” is ridiculous. These rules are not sacred like our constitution. These rules in many cases were CHANGED tens of times since our country began and can be changed again. Heck, our Constitution, which next to the Bible is the holiest document to me, allows itself to be changed.
We allowed beards once and we can allow it again. Rules should NOT be ignored. No Sir. However, rules can and should be changed when they make sense.
We allowed blacks in the Army. Using the idiotic logic on display in this thread, if FR had existed back in the 40s I am sure someone would have posted “Rules are rules”
Keep context in mind guys. Some random Sikh guy wants to join our United States army and DIE FOR ME!!!!
Did you get that?? He wants the privelege of dying for me, my family, my consitution and my country (and Texas, my most beloved state).
This Sikh guy also likes to wear a beard as his religion asks for it.
So the way I see it, we allowed beards once. Our greatest generals wore beards. We can freaking allow them again for what is arguably one of the greatest martial races in the world.
Go Sikhs! Go US Armed Forces! Go Texas!