Bangalore: Sikhs have yet again set a new standard in the U.S. Delhiís twenty nine year-old Simranpreet Lamba, now serving the U.S. Army, became the first from his Sikh community to be promoted to the corporal rank in three decades, reports Rohan Dua for The Times of India. It is the 5th rank in the U.S. army, which is higher than that of a specialistís and is directly below the sergeant.
With a Masterís degree in hand from the New York University, Lamba decided to stay in the U.S. and begin a career in the private sector.He was enlisted for the U.S. Army in 2009, but Army officials were not sure if Lamba could serve while sporting a turban, uncut hair and a beard. Later, two Sikh officers, a doctor and a dentist, joined the Army while wearing a beard, scruffy hair and a turban, who very much inspired Lamba to apply for a combative rank profile. Lamba requested the U.S. army to let him keep his articles of faith intact. Unlike the Army policies of 1984 that effectively barred Sikhs from enrolling in the soldier rank, the U.S. Army went beyond these rules and welcomed Sikhs.
He was then recruited under the Military Accessions Vital of the National Interest recruiting program, which requires legal non-citizens to have knowledge of good language skills, such as Punjabi and Hindi. Throughout his training period, Lamba was seen wearing his turban that was patterned with the army combat uniform, instead of the regular caps. He also maintained his locks and beard clean under all conditions, meeting the Military rules of appearance.
Lamba wishes to inspire other Sikhs who have the will to serve the Army, even though the path is a thorny one.