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

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  • Mountain Man
    replied
    The really interesting thing about this discussion is that the US military isn't the one imposing conditions that prevent service - the Sikhs themselves are.

    It is their own inflexible customs that make service impossible at the moment.

    Leave a comment:


  • BigDog
    replied
    Originally posted by Nichols View Post
    Jim,

    I tested it during Team Spirit 90 in March of 1990. My team was supposed to be uncovered within four days of D-Day. Unfortunately we weren't uncovered until after the operation ended 10 days later. That was one of two times that I had close to a full beard growing. I couldn't get a seal, out of the six Marines in the team one of them could get a seal.
    Thanks for the reply Paul. I had a reason for asking as my experience with such is the opposite of yours. Back when I worked construction I would let my beard grow out in winter. A situation arose where I had to paint some ductwork with PVC paint. Since this was a one day only deal I really did not want to shave. I had also heard the deal about Vaseline, so the night before I decided to run some test to see if I could get a seal or if it was time to shave. I found that by tightening the straps on my respirator more than normal I could get a seal, although I have to admit having beard hairs jammed into your skin for a few hours aint real comfortable. And yes this was a respirator as opposed to an M17 or an M25 but they seal about the same to me. What has been posted loos more like the arrangement of a sandblasting hood which seals at the neck, although those are not a firm seal and do rely on positive pressure.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nichols
    replied
    Originally posted by frisco17 View Post
    Yeah, there is NO way you can get that this out and on securely in 9 seconds.
    If that hood was a part of MOPP II and you were in MOPP II, you would be able to deploy the mask in nine seconds.

    Operating in MOPP II was difficult but because you weren't fully encapsulated, your capabilities weren't degraded too much but they were still degraded. Adding a hood to MOPP II would increase difficulties. That is why the hood was left 'unrolled' on the mask during MOPP III.

    If memory serves me right, you have 9 seconds to get a seal and by the 20 second mark you had to have the hood on over the mask.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nichols
    replied
    Originally posted by Sparlingo View Post
    Nichols, here is a picture of the gas hood, seals at the neck and the only straps are there
    Paul,

    I checked out the picture before I posted what you quoted.

    The straps that I was talking about are on the gas mask. They wrap around the head to a point on the middle of the back of the skull. These would stop the 'cooling' system on the hood.

    You would also need an additional hood that would go over the mask to have the ability to decontaminate in a field environment.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nichols
    replied
    Originally posted by BigDog View Post
    Just out of curiosity do any of the service members that are stating that you can not wear a mask with a beard have any actual experience or are you just repeating what you were told?
    Jim,

    I tested it during Team Spirit 90 in March of 1990. My team was supposed to be uncovered within four days of D-Day. Unfortunately we weren't uncovered until after the operation ended 10 days later. That was one of two times that I had close to a full beard growing. I couldn't get a seal, out of the six Marines in the team one of them could get a seal.

    Leave a comment:


  • frisco17
    replied
    Originally posted by Sparlingo View Post
    Nichols, here is a picture of the gas hood, seals at the neck and the only straps are there

    Yeah, there is NO way you can get that thing out and on securely in 9 seconds.
    Last edited by frisco17; 16 Nov 15, 08:50.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sparlingo
    replied
    Originally posted by Nichols View Post
    That is not a gas mask, that is a hood.

    This adds an additional layer to the system. You will still need a hood over the gas mask to protect against being sprayed. Decontaminating without the additional hood would cause the hood to be contaminated.

    Additionally the 'cooling gel packs' would be cut off and ineffective once you tightened your gas mask straps around the hood.

    It is impossible to have a beard friendly gas mask.

    The only way to have one is with a supplied air respirator which has a battery issue problem or a self contained breathing apparatus which has an air supply tank issue.

    Both of those type of masks would not work very well in field conditions.
    Nichols, here is a picture of the gas hood, seals at the neck and the only straps are there

    Leave a comment:


  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Originally posted by Trung Si View Post
    At the time of my service we had the M 17 gas mask a real POS in my opinion and in hindsight I doubt if one could get a good seal sporting any kind of beard, however I have no personal experience since I started my career in the 82nd ABN Div. where we couldn't even have a mustache and in Vietnam I don't even remember seeing a gas mask.


    You could not, and this was emphasized by all of the blacks who wanted shaving profiles due to their pseudo-folliculitis. Their beards defeated their gas mask seals, forcing the Army to institute a hugely expensive shaving program, the point of which was to teach them to properly handle their problem so as not to need a beard.

    Oddly enough, black NCO's and officers never seemed to have this problem, only the lower enlisteds.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trung Si
    replied
    Originally posted by BigDog View Post
    Just out of curiosity do any of the service members that are stating that you can not wear a mask with a beard have any actual experience or are you just repeating what you were told?
    At the time of my service we had the M 17 gas mask a real POS in my opinion and in hindsight I doubt if one could get a good seal sporting any kind of beard, however I have no personal experience since I started my career in the 82nd ABN Div. where we couldn't even have a mustache and in Vietnam I don't even remember seeing a gas mask.

    Leave a comment:


  • BigDog
    replied
    Just out of curiosity do any of the service members that are stating that you can not wear a mask with a beard have any actual experience or are you just repeating what you were told?

    Leave a comment:


  • Mountain Man
    replied

    Ask yourself how devout Muslims can serve, if they have to pray five times a day?

    Serving in the military means one agrees to put the needs of the nation before your own, whether they are personal or religious. And one of the key words in military service is "uniform"...all the same in everything.

    Want to start issuing special dispensations? Get ready to issue them to everyone in the military, because they all have personal beliefs and practices that will have to be taken into account.

    Three Sikhs doe not make a problem for anyone, including the American military. This isn't even a tempest in a teacup - it's a complete nothing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Duncan
    replied
    Originally posted by Nichols View Post
    You have been here for a long time, you probably know the backgrounds of most of the posters that went after with your 'beard friendly gas mask.'

    You attempted to shoot down/belittle a lot of military experience in this thread........
    I hope I haven't belittled anyone. I know very little about individual forum members, other than the few I have met in person. We are discussing a single issue and not individual's service. Of course, experience is a good source of knowledge.

    If we are using military experience there are a couple points in the original article worth noting. Bold highlights are mine.
    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.
    While none of the men have used Sajjan's mask, all three have safely secured US military gas masks to their faces, the Sikh Coalition said. Kalsi, a 39-year-old recipient of the Bronze Star medal for his service in Afghanistan, has also reportedly worn a camouflage turban and pinned his beard tightly under his chin during combat. He testified before the US Commission on Civil Rights in 2013 for the right of Sikhs to serve in the military.

    "Let me make clear that I would never advocate for anything that would put my fellow soldiers in harm's way," he said. "If Sikhs could not wear helmets or gas masks when required, I would never call on my military to accommodate Sikh American soldiers. But that is simply not the case. Sikh soldiers have served on Special Forces teams. They have jumped out of airplanes as paratroopers, and have deployed in far-forward combat operations. We can serve our country and be Sikh at the same time."

    Leave a comment:


  • Trung Si
    replied
    Originally posted by Nichols View Post

    Did you at least go to the gas chamber in boot camp or during your reserve time?
    Even after two tours in Vietnam, I dread that memory to this day.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nichols
    replied
    Originally posted by Duncan View Post
    Just a short service as an infantry reservist a long time ago with no deployments. My experience consists of no more than learning how to march and strip an FNC1.
    This is really amazing, don't get me wrong, I do think that it is great that you served your country...but.....

    John (20+ years in the military) mentions that you can't get a seal with a beard, you reply with this:

    Then you go after Slick (I think 8+ years of service) with this:

    Originally posted by Duncan View Post
    And since a beard friendly gas mask has been patented in Canada I'm pretty sure that if some smart engineer in the U.S.A. would start looking for a solution, rather than listening to excuses, the problem could be dealt with.
    Then you start getting things wrong about the US and also talk more about the non existent beard friendly gas mask:

    Originally posted by Duncan View Post
    That is asinine. The U.S.A. has a hard-on for firearms. It's a nation where you can order a handgun by mail, has dumb ass stand your ground laws, wants everyone to carry a gun and even legislates it in some places, embraces and celebrates firearms as a form of jewelry, and it has a problem with kirpans?! You can open carry an M16 but people have a **** over carrying a kirpan. Absolutely ludicrous.

    Dunno. But the guy who patented it has a tour in Bosnia and three tours in Afghanistan. The U.S.A. has engineers right?
    Then you go after Jose50 (another service member...I think 20+ years but not sure) With this:

    Originally posted by Duncan View Post
    So that valuable people are not excluded from a task.
    So that people do not have to choose between service to their religion and service to their nation.
    Because, in general, fitting the equipment to the person is easier than fitting the person to the equipment.
    To support claims of being an inclusive society.
    Because a lot of non-Sikh U.S. servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan have worn beards, making it a bullshit excuse.
    Because it's already been done, making it a bullshit excuse.
    If you're willing to **** money away on the F-35 I can't see a gas mask design being a financial or resource burden worth noting, making it a bullshit excuse.
    Then you go after Frisco17 by posting some pictures, one of which was from Hollywood....

    Then I (20+ years of service) point out that your link was about a hood and not a beard friendly gas mask and you come back with this:

    Originally posted by Duncan View Post
    I guess you didn't bother reading the claims section where some of this is discussed.
    I point out that you were incorrect so you try a deflection:

    Originally posted by Duncan View Post
    They'll get to it right after the F-35 is completed for sure.
    You have been here for a long time, you probably know the backgrounds of most of the posters that went after with your 'beard friendly gas mask.'

    You attempted to shoot down/belittle a lot of military experience in this thread........

    Did you at least go to the gas chamber in boot camp or during your reserve time?

    Leave a comment:


  • Duncan
    replied
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    So in other words, it's not a real problem of any meaningful magnitude.
    Nope. It's a small scale issue only really important if you are one of the folks being excluded.

    Leave a comment:

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