This letter to the editor appeared in Stars and Stripes from a Specialist currently serving in Iraq:
Support for Sikhs who serve
I feel stimulated to write after reading with horror the plight of U.S. Sikhs serving in the United States military (“Asking to serve,” article, April 15).
To order a Sikh to report for duty with the turban removed and with shorn hair is a great insult, and I find it incredulous that the Army is denying the right of these soldiers to serve their country.
I hear daily quips of “An Army of One” and “All shades of green,” but it would appear that Sikhs are being discriminated against on the basis of their faith, which I find disturbing. Sikh soldiers are allowed to display their faith openly in our allies’ armies, and I am at a loss as to why the Army is holding on to archaic and unjust dress regulations.
I served with Sikhs in the British army and their “articles of faith” were never found to be an issue or a source of contention within the ranks.
I applaud the stance of the Sikh Coalition in filing its complaint with the inspectors general of the Army and the Department of Defense on behalf of Capt. Kamaljeet S. Kalsi and 2nd Lt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan.
Spc. David Tanner
Balad Air Base, Iraq