Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a military officer and a Doctor is now well known in the world Sikh community for his service in the United States military. However, Major Kalsi faced many challenges before he was allowed to serve with his turban.
Before 2009, Major Kalsi had served with his turban at 2 of the most well known US military bases but 2009 the Pentagon required him to shave and stop wearing the turban as there were plans to send him to Afghanistan on active duty. Major Kalsi, true to his Sikh faith challenged the decision of the Pentagon and with the help of the Sikh Coalition was allowed to serve with his turban. However, he and another Sikh were only exceptions to the rule and since then Major Kalsi has been tirelessly working to officially amend the rule.
Major Kalsi became the first Sikh since WW1 to serve with his articles of faith accommodated by the U.S. military.
While serving in Afghanistan Major Kalsi saved many lives but a particular photo went viral soon after it appeared in the public domain.
The picture showed the ER Doctor Kalsi providing urgent care medical needs to a soldier. When asked about the experience Major Kalsi couldn’t comment on any particular incident due to military rules, but he did say that “we took care of over 2000 patients while we were in Afghanistan over a 7 month period.”
Many of the victims Doctor Kalsi treated suffered from multiple gunshot wounds and “IED blast injuries.” When asked about the type of injuries treated Dr. Kalsi said, “we took care of plenty of broken bones, lacerations, popped lungs, shrapnel and burn injuries. We also took care of many who sadly did not survive.”
An inspiration, Major Kalsi is leading the charge on having the US Military allowing religious dress to be worn on active duty.