The Army granted him a waiver to serve while keeping the turban and beard required by his Sikh faith. Major Kamal Kalsi is still fighting to change the policy that almost kept him out.
U.S. Army Major Kamal Singh Kalsi comes from a long tradition of military veterans. His great grandfather served in the Royal British Army. Both his father and grandfather saw combat while serving in the Indian Air Force. So when recruiters approached him and asked him to join the military in 2000, Kalsi jumped at the opportunity.
“I was in medical school at the time, and I was really excited to continue the family tradition of military service,” Kalsi explains. “They also offered to cover the cost of my medical schooling, so it was a no-brainer. You’re going to give me financial support and I get to serve my country? How could anyone turn down such a great opportunity?”