Jaspreet Singh cut his hair to join US Air Force. Now, he proudly dons his turban.

"When I got that first haircut [in basic military training] I felt like I lost everything. Losing that made me realize that I don’t want to lose who I am.” - Airman 1st Class Jaspreet Singh

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Airman 1st Class Jaspreet Singh, the first Airman at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to wear a U.S. Air Force approved turban as a uniform item stands in front of a fire truck at Fire Station 1, Joint Base MDL, Dec. 5, 2019. – Photo: USAF / Airman 1st Class Briana Cespedes
By Kevin Shea | NJ.COM | UNITED STATES |

One of the first to wear a turban in the U.S. Air Force serves in N.J.

Jaspreet Singh cut his hair when he joined the U.S. Air Force. He knew the rules and complied with the military’s regulations.

For Singh, though, that did not mean just a close haircut. It also meant not being able to wear his turban – a central part of his Sikhism religion.

Now, the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst airman first class, who works on the base’s fire service, is the third member of the Air Force granted a religious accommodation to wear a turban with his uniform. (The prior two were granted earlier this year.)

“It’s more about identity for me,” Singh said in a story posted on the base’s website. “When I got that first haircut [in basic military training] I felt like I lost everything. Losing that made me realize that I don’t want to lose who I am.”

Singh was born in India and moved to the United States as a child. His family name Singh comes from the Indian word for lion, and many baptized male Sikhs who take the name – after Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and final human guru – are considered to be bold warriors, like a lion, the story said.

By wearing the turban, a camouflage one, Singh says he’s building cultural awareness in and out of his Air Force uniform.

“People are learning; it’s diversifying the Air Force itself,” Singh said. “Me wearing a turban will make people more aware of what a Sikh is.”

Read full story, ‘One of the first to wear a turban in the U.S. Air Force serves in N.J.’ (NJ.com, 17 Dec 2019), here.

 

 

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