New Delhi: A Sikh boy from New Delhi has made history in America. Simran Lamba is the first Sikh in almost three decades to be enlisted in the US army.
He has been allowed to join the armed forces with his untrimmed beard and turban, because he has what the US army wants, knowledge of Punjabi and Hindi.
Lamba had gone to America to study industrial engineering.
The US Army since 1984 had banned untrimmed hair, but the 26-year-old was granted a rare exception because he has skills the US Army wants - knowledge of Hindi and Punjab.
During the training, he wore a camouflage turban under his Kevlar helmet, used petroleum jelly to get a tight grip between his beard and gas mask and kept his hair clean under all conditions, to meet the army's concerns about appearance. The army too treats him as one of their own.
Michael Haines a graduate of the US Army said, “Our generation is more accepting than older generations because we've had lots of experience of integrating and everything like that."
Two Sikhs joined the Army as medical officers earlier this year. But Simran Lamba is the first Sikh to be enlisted in the US army who is worthy of the honour of carrying the red-white-and-blue flag.