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Sikhs Challenge U.S. Army's Ban on Turbans, Beards
Fox ^ | 06.14.09

Posted on 06/14/2009 8:44:05 PM PDT by Dr. Marten

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.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: army; india; military; religion; sikhs

1 posted on 06/14/2009 8:44:06 PM PDT by Dr. Marten
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To: Dr. Marten

I saw a show where a Sikh US Customs officer was permitted to wear his turban and beard.


2 posted on 06/14/2009 8:48:21 PM PDT by toothfairy86
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To: Dr. Marten

No exceptions. Can’t meet the existing requirements, don’t ask for special treatment.


3 posted on 06/14/2009 8:48:42 PM PDT by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: Dr. Marten

The reason is SIMPLE why he has to shave and take off the turban - let’s see him do both in SIX SECONDS while he donns his protective mask in the event of a chemical attack.

End of story.

How the Hell did he become a Cpt with a beard? Must be a REMF.


4 posted on 06/14/2009 8:48:53 PM PDT by datura ("Against all enemies, both foreign and domestic")
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To: datura

So as a male I am required to keep my hair short for some practical purpose that does not apply to female Soldiers?


5 posted on 06/14/2009 8:50:34 PM PDT by douginthearmy (Until I get the proper order at the drive-thru, the unemployment rate is too LOW!)
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To: Dr. Marten
Ridiculous. Go home if you can't take it here.
6 posted on 06/14/2009 8:52:50 PM PDT by Finalapproach29er (A woman will be the next President; I hope it's Palin instead of HRC.)
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To: datura

Probably can’t don-and-clear within 9 seconds either. :-)


7 posted on 06/14/2009 8:53:26 PM PDT by FoxInSocks (B. Hussein Obama: Central Planning Czar)
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To: datura
Dont get me wrong, when you join the military you dont get to sign up with the option of doing things your way. It's called service for a reason. Everyone sacrifices and spouses and children who didnt even sign on the dotted line sacrifice.

But females have their own standards, so it is intellectually dishonest to claim that the male standards are not at least in part arbitrary.

8 posted on 06/14/2009 8:56:58 PM PDT by douginthearmy (Until I get the proper order at the drive-thru, the unemployment rate is too LOW!)
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To: douginthearmy
Yes, as a male, and soldier, you are expected to fight as part of a unit of males.

Last I heard, women were not expected to be the tip of the spear.

Don't get me wrong. I have a pony-tail myself, now that I'm not an NCO. But if I had to be boots and saddles tomorrow morning... it would go away.

/johnny

9 posted on 06/14/2009 8:59:15 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (God Bless us all, each, and every one.)
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ...
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.

10 posted on 06/14/2009 8:59:41 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: Dr. Marten
'His father and grandfather were part of India's Air Force.'

So go serve in the Indian army, Swami. We ain't here to conform to the cultural standards you left behind. Now just do us a favor and......


11 posted on 06/14/2009 9:01:01 PM PDT by Viking2002 (This tagline for rent.)
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To: toothfairy86

“The idea that he would have to choose between his country and his faith is hard for Rattan. “I’m offering my life, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my religious beliefs,” he said.”

His life? He is a dental surgeon.


12 posted on 06/14/2009 9:02:13 PM PDT by ColdWater
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To: douginthearmy
it is intellectually dishonest to claim that the male standards are not at least in part arbitrary.

I'd turn that upside down and say that allowing females in the military and relaxing the standards for them is arbitrary and intellectually dishonest.

Short hair and no beard makes lots of sense for a warrior in many ways. No hair to grab for grappling, don and clear a mask quicker, easier and faster personal hygiene, uniformity and esprit d'corp.

/johnny

13 posted on 06/14/2009 9:03:24 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (God Bless us all, each, and every one.)
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To: Dr. Marten

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.”......................................... LOL!! The beard and Turbin has nothing to do with the Army regulation about religious articles. If he wants the Beard and Turbin let him have it. See what happens when the first Gas attack occurs and he has to put the mask on.


14 posted on 06/14/2009 9:07:16 PM PDT by Bringbackthedraft
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To: Dr. Marten

Go be unique somewhere else. If they give into this guy, then it opens the door to any number of special requirements. Soldiers will start demanding to wear dreadlocks or a bathrobe on duty.


15 posted on 06/14/2009 9:07:51 PM PDT by skikvt (Green is the new red.)
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To: Dr. Marten

16 posted on 06/14/2009 9:10:21 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: Dr. Marten

Start granting exceptions to one group and there will be a long line of other groups wanting special treatment based on their beliefs and customs.

It’s silly to discuss this man’s request as if it will be the only one.


17 posted on 06/14/2009 9:18:16 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Viking2002

LoL... exactly.. short to the point no waste of words..


18 posted on 06/14/2009 9:26:33 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Viking2002

LoL... exactly.. short to the point no waste of words..


19 posted on 06/14/2009 9:26:34 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: hosepipe
'LoL... exactly.. short to the point no waste of words..'


20 posted on 06/14/2009 9:31:49 PM PDT by Viking2002 (This tagline for rent.)
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To: Dr. Marten

There were a few Sikhs in the Army at Ft Lewis ~1970 and they were allowed to wear their turbans and swords. It looked like they might have kept their hair too.


21 posted on 06/14/2009 9:51:38 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: JRandomFreeper

Less than 10% of the Army is combat arms.


22 posted on 06/14/2009 9:56:39 PM PDT by douginthearmy (Until I get the proper order at the drive-thru, the unemployment rate is too LOW!)
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To: douginthearmy
Less than 10% of the Army is combat arms.

I'm aware of that. And that's another problem.

/johnny

23 posted on 06/14/2009 9:58:04 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (God Bless us all, each, and every one.)
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To: JRandomFreeper
I'd turn that upside down and say that allowing females in the military...

Well, that was partially my point. I was being a bit facetious.

24 posted on 06/14/2009 10:00:24 PM PDT by douginthearmy (Until I get the proper order at the drive-thru, the unemployment rate is too LOW!)
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To: AnotherUnixGeek

Amen..this article was in the military times newspapers a couple weeks ago and the bottom line is if these two are not willing or able to meet military uniform regs they need to be discharged for the good of the service. It is not a a reflection on their sense of loyalty to the country but rather we cannot allow people to be telling the military they need to have exceptions for this group or that one...
What are they going to do when they can’t get the helmet on or the gas mask? There are solid reasons for the regs and they must be followed. NO EXCEPTIONS.


25 posted on 06/14/2009 10:01:07 PM PDT by celtic gal (I think the democRATs should change their logo from a jackass to a RAT with a long tail.)
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To: Dr. Marten

Maybe the Army could meet him half-way. Issue him a kevlar turban that can double as a helmet.


26 posted on 06/14/2009 10:06:10 PM PDT by Nachoman (Think of life as an adventure you don't survive.)
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To: douginthearmy
Female soldiers have regs to follow regarding how to wear the hair. In the Marine Corps, a female Marine’s hair cannot fall below the collar of the uniform shirt. If one has long hair it has to be worn up and no barrettes can show ( at least that is how it was when I was in the Corps). That said, she has to be able to wear her cover properly, don a helmet and get her gas mask on..she is not wearing a turban upon which a service cover, or helmet would be worn..can you imagine what that would look like? The turban has to go and if they won't comply with uniform regs then they need to go.
27 posted on 06/14/2009 10:06:47 PM PDT by celtic gal (I think the democRATs should change their logo from a jackass to a RAT with a long tail.)
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To: Viking2002

LMAO!!! Your posts never fail to make me laugh. Short, sweet and to the point.


28 posted on 06/14/2009 10:08:11 PM PDT by mojitojoe (All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.)
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To: Dr. Marten
WARNING! LENGTHY POST.

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/LAND-FORCES/History/WW2/70-Glimpses.html

 

July 10, 1944. 5th Maratha Regiment's Yeshwant Ghadge, all of 22, was caught in a mortal combat in the Upper Tiber Valley of Italy. Except for his commander, his platoon had been wiped out by enemy machine-gunners. With no alternative left, Ghadge rushed the machine gun nest, lobbing grenades, knocking off the gun and the gunner. He charged, shot another enemy. With no time to change his magazine, Ghadge clubbed to death two remaining enemy gunners. Ghadge finally fell to an enemy sniper.
 

India's memories of the World War II are made of such tales of exceptional valour, was India's biggest and worst war.

 

Umrao Singh had held onto an advanced gun position against four assaults by Japanese troops.

Despite injuries from two grenade attacks, Singh fought on. When he was discovered hours later, bodies of 10 Japanese were lying around him.

Though the war was not India's, Indians were among the most heroic, borne out by the fact that they won over 4,000 gallantry awards, among them almost 20 Victoria Crosses.

 

Abdul Hafiz, 9th Jat Infantry, of the British Indian Army and was posted to Imphal, to defend the northeast borders where the Japanese were pushing in.

Just 25, and a Jemadar under British officers, Hafiz led a charge up a bare slope and then up a steep cliff despite machine-gun fire.

He pressed on, eliminated the enemy who vastly outnumbered Hafiz's platoon, but succumbed to his injuries.

Hafiz was awarded the Victoria Cross for the last act of his life.

 

Similar was the story of 22-year-old Yeshwant Ghadge whose act of exceptional courage came in the Upper Tiber Valley of Italy on July 10, 1944.

His entire section, except the commander, were killed or wounded from machine gun fire. Ghadge rushed to the machine gun location, throwing grenade and knocking off the machine gun and its firer and then shot another.

With no time to change his magazine, Ghadge clubbed to death two other remaining members of the machine gun crew. Ghadge like thousands of his Indian counterparts too fell to an enemy sniper and died.

Many of the Indian VCs were won in Burma and other regions of India's northeast.

If the Japanese forces, along with Bose's Indian National Army, had succeeded in their efforts to push into India the World War II would have had a different meaning for Indians.

Some of Independent India's great warriors too were World War II veterans.

Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh earned his first recognition as an outstanding flier in the World War II.

Stationed at Imphal valley, his unit played a key role in resisting a siege. Singh was awarded the Dinstinguished Flying Cross by Lord Mountbatten, the then chief of the South East Asia Command.

While Indians played a pivotal role in safeguarding the northeast and Burma, they were also valiantly in action in places as far as Africa.

The Fifth Indian Division fought against the Italians in Sudan, and against the Germans in Libya.

Indians also played a critical role in protecting the Iraqi oilfields, which had by then become a key installation for the British Empire.

The Fifth Division also was part of the occupational force of Malaya. And later it went to Java to disarm the Japanese troops.

The Fourth Indian Division fought in North Africa, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus and then in Italy.

World War II was also the only occasion when the American troops were ever stationed in Indian soil.

They were deployed all over Northeast, and some units were even based in New Delhi. WW II veterans recall the lavish lifestyles of the Americans, who earned more than even British soldiers.

The Americans also played key role in flying supplies from Calcutta, Karachi and other ports to Burma, China and other theatres of war in the region.

They also played an important role in developing road network in the northeast.

India was a cultivation base for upping supplies for the Allies.

Across the country rationing and shortages were felt.

In Calcutta the great famine of 1943, triggered by rice disease brown spot, was accentuated by the war-time shortages. An estimated 3,000,000 people died in the famine.

The war's crippling impact on British Empire eventually helped speed up India's freedom.

But as is wont in India, the legacy of the 2.5 million Indian braves has lost the battle to neglect.

India's only living Victoria Cross winner of WW II, Honorary Captain Umrao Singh, 85 gets a meager Rs 80 as monthly pension.

Umrao Singh had held onto an advanced gun position against four assaults by Japanese troops.

Despite injuries from two grenade attacks, Singh fought on. He held the gun pit until dawn, and was found face down in the mud surrounded by ten lifeless Japanese soldiers and holding a hand-spike he had used in hand-to-hand combat. Singh survived and was awarded the Victoria Cross.

 

 

 

 

Khukris unsheathed, Gurkha troops charge the enemy lines in Burma.

 

 

 

Indian soldiers storm a German trench, after exploding it with hand grenades.

 

 

 

A Lt Colonel from the 20th Indian Division accepts the formal surrender of a Japanese Commander at Saigon, Vietnam, in September 1945.

 

 

 

A group from the 152nd Para Battalion displaying the Japanese flag they captured at Tangkhul Hundung. ( Photograph: Bharat-Rakshak.com )

 

An RAF NCO helps an Indian airman to load the ammunition belts into the chutes built into the undercarriage leg fairing.  Some detail of the Universal bomb carrier fixed to the stub wing can be seen in this image.




 

 

 

Sikh soldiers of the 8th Army with local boys in San Felice, Italy.

Sikh soldier of the 11th Sikh Regiment with a captured Nazi flag in Italy at the end of the Second World War.

 

Flt. Lt. M.S. Pujji and Hurricane IIB

"I was posted to No.253 Squadron RAF, flying Hurricane IIB fighters from RAF Kenley, which is a couple of miles south of Croydon.

We were a mixed bunch, with pilots also from Poland, America, Canada and Australia.

Equipped with twelve machine guns, our hurricanes were extensively flown day and night, to intercept German bombers and reconnaissance aircraft."

 

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Cassino Memorial, Italy


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Deserted by all, on the Pakistani retreat from Salian village in the Sialkot sector, Hasana Begum, 85, is helped to her cot outside her small home by Sikh soldier.


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A pair of jawans manning a forward post, somewhere along the Indo-China border. Circa 1962

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Sikh Officer discusses a war plan with other senior Indian military commanders.

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Lieutenant General A.A.K. 'Tiger' Niazi, Commander of the Pakistan Army in the East, signs the Instrument of Surrender in the presence of Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora.

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Lieutenant General Harbakhsh Singh, Padma Bhushan, VrC, was the GOC-in-C Western Army Command during the 1965 Indo-Pak War. Much of the success of the ground war was attributed to his brilliant military tactics

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Lieutenant General Harbakhsh Singh listens keenly as Lieutenant General Bukhtiar Rana, Pakistan Army makes a point during post-war negotiations at Lahore. Officials from the United Nations walk right behind.

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General has a word of congratulation for the soldiers on the bank of the Ichhogil Canal

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A Pakistani officer arrives in a jeep, after the cease-fire, to seek the permission of the Indian Army to collect the dead and wounded

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A grateful Indian Army thanks her sister service, the Indian Air Force, for its much-needed support during the 1965 war against Pakistan: Chief of Army Staff, General J.N. Chaudhuri presents a silver replica of a Patton tank to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh at the Army Day Parade in New Delhi on 15 January 1966.

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Sikh soldier holds a captured Nazi flag. Circa 1945


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A truly spectacular image. In the heat of the moment - Indian soldiers storm a German trench, after exploding it with hand grenades. Circa 1945.

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A long way from home: Indian troops at the first Battle of Ypres. This contingent of the 129th Baluchis in the vicinity of the Hollebeke Chateau, 28 October 1914. The photo has been taken by General Gough.

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A black & white sketch depicting Havildar Gagna Singh, 57th Wilde's Rifles, in battle. Havildar Singh was awarded the IOM (Indian Order of Merit) by shooting a German officer and killing ten other ranks.

 

 

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World War I

 

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Former Indian Army Chief, J.J. Singh

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Indian Troops

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Sikh Commando

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2,197 Sikh war dead buried at Commune of Torino di Sangro, Italy

 



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Sikh Tank unit on the outskirts of a German village

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Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Iraq, 1914

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Resting after a long day of fighting, Neuve Chapelle, France in summer of 1915.

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NEUVE-CHAPELLE MEMORIAL
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NEUVE-CHAPELLE MEMORIAL

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A French women thanks victorious Sikh troops marching through Paris

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Fighting for Paris WW2
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"Singh is King" Lebanon

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Lebanon

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A Lebanese Christian women takes a pictures of UNIFIL troops in Lebanon

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Execution of Sikh Prisoners of war

This image forms the last in a set of four tragic photographs that were found amongst Japanese records when Allied troops entered Singapore shortly after the end of the Second World War. The sequence of events is narrated as follows:

1) Japanese soldiers load their rifles and prepare to shoot their prisoners.

2) The blindfolded prisoners sit with target marks hanging over their hearts, and stakes placed in the ground in front of them bearing their number. They sit with dignity awaiting their end.

3) The shots ring out. Some appear to be near misses, and none at this stage appear to be fatal.

4) To ensure the prisoners are dead, a Japanese soldier goes among the wounded with a bayonet. A second soldier can be seen using a pistol to kill any survivors.



A fitting tribute to Sikhs like these and many others who volunteered in their thousands to join the war effort can be found in the words of General Sir Frank Messervy:


 


“Finally, we that live on can never forget those comrades who in giving their lives gave so much that is good to the story of the Sikh Regiment. No living glory can transcend that of their supreme sacrifice, may they rest in peace. In the last two World Wars 83,005 turban wearing Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded. They all died or were wounded for the freedom of Britain and the world and during shell fire, with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith.”

- Colonel F.T. Birdwood, The Sikh Regiment in the Second World War.

29 posted on 06/14/2009 10:40:17 PM PDT by MyTwoCopperCoins (I don't have a license to kill; I have a learner's permit.)
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To: Dr. Marten

Sikhs seem like pretty okay guys and all, but can’t they invent a really flat turban and go with a really short beard? I mean, when is a turban not turban-y enough?


30 posted on 06/14/2009 11:16:31 PM PDT by kittycatonline.com
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To: Dr. Marten

We are cutting off our nose to spite our face. The armed forces need these guys. There are no more fearsome warriors than the Sikhs, except perhaps the Gurkhas. They know all about standing up to Muslim brutality. They would gladly die without the protection of a helmet or gas mask rather than violate their religious faith. They serve capably, loyally, and honorably in many other armed forces around the world without having to give up their turbans. Make the turban of Kevlar cloth if necessary, but I say let the Sikhs serve with their turbans intact.


31 posted on 06/15/2009 12:37:03 AM PDT by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: Dr. Marten

The patka helmet was designed specially for the Sikh soldiers of the Indian army and was found to offer superior protection around the forehead and sides of the head from shrapnel and debris from IEDs and mines compared to the conventional helmets, so much so that it is now used by all troops involved in COIN and anti terror missions.
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=139678&page=2
Anyone wanting to criticize Sikhs should read this, just to understand the type of soldiers they make!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragarhi
http://www.saragarhi.org/


32 posted on 06/15/2009 5:38:10 AM PDT by cold start
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To: datura
How the Hell did he become a Cpt with a beard? Must be a REMF.

Is is so hard to read the article?

U.S. Army recruiters talked to him during his first year of medical school, he readily signed up.

33 posted on 06/15/2009 7:37:54 AM PDT by Oztrich Boy (a competent small government conservative is good enough for government work)
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To: celtic gal
It is not a a reflection on their sense of loyalty to the country but rather we cannot allow people to be telling the military they need to have exceptions for this group or that one...

Yup. I applaud these men for wanting to serve and defend the country they've moved to and adopted as their own. Those who posted that they should go back where they came from should ask themselves whether they've done as much. But the military has rules for a reason - those wishing to serve must abide by those rules, or choose another profession.
34 posted on 06/15/2009 11:59:29 AM PDT by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: Dr. Marten

The uniform is the uniform.
The grooming standards are the grooming standards.

If you don’t like it - don’t join.


35 posted on 06/15/2009 12:11:32 PM PDT by BlueNgold (... Feed the tree!)
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To: cold start

Personally, I’m not criticizing the Sikh’s. I’m just tired of people coming to this country and expecting us to change our institutions and way of life to suit them. Period.


36 posted on 06/15/2009 1:02:54 PM PDT by Dr. Marten
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