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Veterans Urge US Military to Remove Barriers That Prevent Sikhs From Serving

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  • Veterans Urge US Military to Remove Barriers That Prevent Sikhs From Serving

    A band of retired military leaders and religious advocates are rallying this Veterans Day to call for devout Sikhs be allowed to serve in the military while keeping their beards, unshorn hair, and turbans, which are worn for religious reasons.

    Twenty-seven retired commanders from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps have signed a letter addressed to US Defense Secretary Ash Carter encouraging him to remove barriers that effectively prevent observant Sikhs to serve without being forced to violate their religious obligations or undergo a long exemption process.

    "On Veterans Day, we honor Americans who have served our country, but it's also a time to understand there are some Americans who still struggle for the basic right to serve," retired US Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling said in a statement.
    Vice - Full Article

  • #2


    Then we allow Muslims to wear full beards, female Muslims to wear face cover and.....

    Sorry one rule for all as much as I admire their history as warriors and would serve our/their country well.
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      Agreed. No special exceptions. These rules exist for a reason and allowing people to opt out of them is a slippery slope. If they want to serve that badly I'm sure they could get a religious exemption instead of expecting the military to change. Heck, even fundamentalist Muslims make exceptions for "soldiers" when it comes to required daily prayers.
      "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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      • #4
        And here I thought they military was trying it's best to distance itself from religion lately and now they are calling for a religious exemption, it makes no sense to me.
        Trying hard to be the Man, that my Dog believes I am!

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        • #5
          I thought there were exceptions.

          There are pictures going around of OFFICERS in ACU Jewish/Sikh headwear. No enlisted.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
            Wrt beards specifically.. The way I look at beards in the US armed forces is very straightforward and right to the point.

            Lincoln, Lee, Grant, and even moving up in years to John J Pershing.... had beards or facial hair of some sorts . If those folks had beards then modern day military members ought to be able to have beards if they want.

            That said if for example there is a certain division of the Air force or Army that requires folks to wear masks, and beards might get in the way of these masks then I could see a no beard policy. But this does not mean that facial hair should be barred for all US armed forces personal. I know for a fact that some # of the Special forces folks over in Iraq and Afghanistan have large beards, and those beards dont get in the way of the Special forces folks carrying out their work. So to see the men of the Special forces sporting large beards is awesome, for me it brings back the American military men of the past who sported beards.
            Last edited by Taieb el-Okbi; 12 Nov 15, 10:53.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BKnight3 View Post
              I thought there were exceptions.

              There are pictures going around of OFFICERS in ACU Jewish/Sikh headwear. No enlisted.
              I would be interested in hearing the official Army, Navy, Air force, as well as National guard policies on Jews wearing their hats or Sikhs wearing their hats while training or on a mission...

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              • #8
                There is a very specific reason for the military's policy banning facial hair with the exception of mustaches. Facial hair prevents gas masks from sealing properly and thus prevents them from actually protecting you. Being able to fight in an NBC environment is a pretty basic military task and you must be able to meet it.
                "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by frisco17 View Post
                  There is a very specific reason for the military's policy banning facial hair with the exception of mustaches. Facial hair prevents gas masks from sealing properly and thus prevents them from actually protecting you. Being able to fight in an NBC environment is a pretty basic military task and you must be able to meet it.
                  What about the Special forces folks who have large beards and who have also served in Iraq/Afghanistan..does the "military's policy" not extend to these folks?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by frisco17 View Post
                    There is a very specific reason for the military's policy banning facial hair with the exception of mustaches. Facial hair prevents gas masks from sealing properly and thus prevents them from actually protecting you. Being able to fight in an NBC environment is a pretty basic military task and you must be able to meet it.
                    Indeed, although Canada's defense minister did actually developed a gas mask for Sikhs.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Taieb el-Okbi View Post
                      What about the Special forces folks who have large beards and who have also served in Iraq/Afghanistan..does the "military's policy" not extend to these folks?
                      Not really no. SOCOM is give extreme freedom to do things their own way. That's largely because they have very unique missions that are far removed from normal operations in a line unit. A SEAL team conducting a two hour mission can be pretty confident they won't run into chemical threats. An infantry unit on the line for months doesn't have that luxury.
                      "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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                      • #12
                        Demon of Decay,


                        You of all folks(you post about events in the ME on a daily basis) must be aware that there have been American troops with large beards stationed in the Middle east.


                        Additionally, for almost a decade, ending with a "deauthorization" order that took effect on September 7, 2010, many Special Forces members in Afghanistan were allowed to wear beards.[26]

                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial...#United_States

                        https://www.google.com/search?q=faci...IVAZYeCh1z6wW7

                        https://www.google.com/search?q=faci...l+forces+beard


                        One can find recent pictures of bearded American men serving in the middle east.

                        Its not clear what the policy of the Air Force, Navy, Army as well as National guard is toward beards. I suppose one of the military members(Frisco for example) can link us to an official site which can provide the forum with rules irt facial hair.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by frisco17 View Post
                          Not really no. SOCOM is give extreme freedom to do things their own way. That's largely because they have very unique missions that are far removed from normal operations in a line unit. A SEAL team conducting a two hour mission can be pretty confident they won't run into chemical threats. An infantry unit on the line for months doesn't have that luxury.
                          Thanks for the informative response.

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                          • #14
                            I've got a hard time thinking about a gas mask that works with a beard. Just how does that work? Some kind of neck liner? If you want to serve you got to get a hair cut and be neat and tight. Claiming religious exemption to have a beard or dreads is just plain silly...
                            Credo quia absurdum.


                            Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Taieb el-Okbi View Post
                              Its not clear what the policy of the Air Force, Navy, Army as well as National guard is toward beards. I suppose one of the military members(Frisco for example) can link us to an official site which can provide the forum with rules irt facial hair.
                              It's very clear. I don't know the regs of the other branches off the top of my head but AR 670-1 explicitly states the grooming and personal appearance standards of the US Army and Army National Guard. It's very easy to find online and would answer any question you might have.
                              "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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