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Capt Adam Saxe
53
53
0
I guess I am in the minority on this, but there is no rational argument against letting these patriotic men serve their country while maintaining their ancient religious traditions. What nobody seems to realize is that Sikhs have served for hundreds of years in the Indian Army, both the old colonial British Indian Army and the independent modern Indian Army. Because many families from the old British Empire immigrated to the UK proper, the British Forces have a disproportionate number of Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims in their ranks. And guess what? Accommodations for their religious needs have not impeded order & discipline, readiness, morale, or combat ability. This includes the laughably false "gas mask" issue. The British and Indian armies use modern gas masks comparable to ours--no problem for their bearded servicemen. Many other militaries in the British Commonwealth (the former Empire) also provide accommodations for soldiers whose roots are Indian. Look up the current Canadian Defense Minister. A Sikh, w/ full beard and turban, who served as BN commander in Afghanistan. Didn't seem to faze his troops. And, finally, keep in mind that many of our NATO allies allow their troops to have beards.

The real issue--which is understandable--is that we, as Americans, are simply not used to seeing very many Sikhs. They are a tiny minority in our country and there is no direct historical link between the USA and Indian Sikhs the same way there is between the UK and Indian Sikhs. So, the idea of Sikh w/ beard and turban in uniform appears "strange" to us. Understandable. The Sikh in the US Forces and British Forces I've met wouldn't begrudge any GI for feeling that way. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't serve just because we, the majority, are ignorant of their tradition.

I fully realize that there is the potential for a "slippery slope" in which anyone can claim a religious exemption to dress and appearance regs. There are a number of buffers to this, however. There is no obligation--believe it or not--for religious Jews or Muslims to grow beards. Some National Guard units have allowed Jewish or Muslim chaplains to grow beards and guess what . . . who cares? There was a very moving picture right after 9/11 of a NY Army National Guard rabbi (chaplain) performing services over the carnage--in full BDUs but with a long grey beard.

But the vast majority of soldiers--of any faith--have no obligation to challenge grooming regs. It just might do us some good to realize those regs were not set in stone on Mt. Sinai. The obvious example being our CIvil War generals . . . they make Sikhs look like a random Private or Airman who forgot to shave!
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SMSgt William Hassiepen
SMSgt William Hassiepen
7 y
SSG Robert Webster - well "bobby" I think perhaps the brown stuff was at the end of your nose. We didn't have people who wore Turbans in the Air Force when I was in. Nor were did they in the Navy, of course the Army back then you only needed an AFQT of 19 to actually get in (what was yours by the way?). While the military as at times made "exceptions", they were exceptions and what is being sought is an actual change to the rules. What's next Islamic head scarfs for female personnel who are muslim? Of Hasidic dress for those who are of that particular Jewish sect? Funny how you want to lower the standards I would submit by your stance you are part of the problem that faced the military. Too much compromise. Now to the point where standards no longer exist or are treated as guidelines.
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SSG Robert Webster
SSG Robert Webster
7 y
SMSgt William Hassiepen - Same to you SMSgt -- First of all - Note that I said Military, and did not break it down by service, secondly the AF Times, Army Times, Marine Corps Times, and the Navy Times carried the stories of each branch if it had an overall effect on the services (just as they do today), and the facial hair story was big then, because it actually effected a larger number of individuals, and the Sikh's turban was a secondary issue during that discussion. Next screw you for trying to use a derogatory nick name and directly trying to insult me by insinuating that I have a low AFQT Score of 19, sorry but you really have a problem. I never knew my AFQT Score, because it was never listed on any of my paper work, however, if you want to try and pull my records, your more than welcome and take a gander at my GT Score which is a 141, rare enough when I took the ASVAB and since the change in scoring is even more rare today, well check for your self. Looking at what I understand the AFQT to be, my score/percentile would be about the 96th percentile, which equates to and AFQT score of 96, so what is yours?
My stance is part of the problem? Too much compromise? Lower the standards? From your latest round of statements, you have no clue as to what is a guideline or a standard.
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MSG Reid Zohfeld
MSG Reid Zohfeld
>1 y
CS Gas is one thing But being a Dragon Soldier facial hair does hinder a good seal
If you want to check your notion go to Fort Wood and go in the live nerve agent chamber and check it for your self
Again another youngster Captain trying to appease in stead of leading Thank God I am retired from this insanity
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Capt Adam Saxe
Capt Adam Saxe
>1 y
MSG Reid Zohfeld - Let's put aside the Sikhs perfect record in the British military and other British Commonwealth armies (Australia, New Zealand, etc.). Let's just focus on the Indian Army, one of the largest on Earth and in a 24/7 showdown with Pakistan. If a nuclear war were to break out anywhere on the planet, it would most likely be in the India-Pakistan region. Both nations also have chems and bio weapons. So they take NBC protection pretty seriously. And both nations have top of the line equipment in all areas. India isn't some poor backwater third world country full of illiterates. It has the 6th largest economy in the world.

Point being, they know how to do NBC protection as good as anybody. And they have tens of thousands of Sikhs with beards and turbans serving (as Sikhs have in the Indian military for hundreds of years). If they can make it work, anyone can.

It's just that most Americans are unaware of the Sikh community because its so small. That's why the idea of accommodating their grooming practices seems unreal to many military and vets. But our allies have proved there is no problem, so that's that IMHO.
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LCDR 2nd Mate
23
23
0
Here is the Simple answer. Bring. The. Beards. Back. For. Everyone.
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SSG Robert Webster
SSG Robert Webster
7 y
LCDR (Join to see) - Actually it was 1986.
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SSG Kenneth Ponder
SSG Kenneth Ponder
3 y
Shave it or stockade, with a bald head
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SSG Kenneth Ponder
SSG Kenneth Ponder
3 y
The Navy ain't the damn Army
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SSG Kenneth Ponder
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MAJ(P) Hbpc Physician Assistant
15
15
0
How many times do we need this? There is a precedent. There is a policy. Follow the regulations.
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SP5 Mark Kuzinski
SP5 Mark Kuzinski
7 y
It's just that easy.
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CPO Gregory Smith
CPO Gregory Smith
7 y
Amen!!!
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1stSgt First Sergeant
1stSgt (Join to see)
7 y
AR 670-1 paragraph 2 B says under Facial Hair. Males will keep their face clean-shaven when in uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty. Mustaches are permitted.
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