A 26-year-old American-Sikh officer in the US Marines, First Lieutenant Sukhbir Toor, has been allowed to wear the turban, but, with a few limitations. Toor’s turban is a first in the 246-year history of the Marine Corps, which has almost never allowed deviations from its hallowed image, an article in The New York Times stated.
Almost every morning for five years, he pulled on the uniform of the United States Marine Corps. On Thursday, he also got to put on the turban of a faithful Sikh. “I finally don’t have to pick which life I want to commit to, my faith or my country. I can be who I am and honor both sides,” Toor said in an interview.
When Toor was promoted as Captain this spring, he decided to appeal.
“Toor’s case is the latest in a long-running conflict between two fundamental values in the United States Military: the tradition of discipline and uniformity, and the constitutional liberties the armed forces were created to defend,” the NYT said.
However, Toor, who grew up in Washington and Ohio and is the son of Indian immigrants, has been allowed to wear the Turban while on duty with limitations. He “can wear a turban in daily dress at normal duty stations, but not while deployed to a conflict zone, or when in dress uniform in a ceremonial unit, where the public could see it.”
The NYT report said Toor has appealed the restrictive decision to the Marine Corps commandant, and he says that if he does not get a full accommodation, he will sue the Corps.
“We’ve come a long way, but there is still more to go,” he said in the NYT report. The Marine Corps need to show it really means what it has been saying about strength in diversity that it doesn’t matter what you look like, it just matters that you can do your job.
The Corps has also maintained that uniformity was as essential to a fighting force as well-oiled rifles.
In order to build squads that will move forward in a combat environment where people are dying, a strong team bond is required, Colonel Kelly Frushour, a spokeswoman for Marine Headquarters, said in written responses to NYT on Toor’s case.
Uniformity is one of the tools the Corps uses to forge that bond. What the Corps is protecting is its ability to win on the battlefield, so that the Constitution can remain the law of the land.
The NYT report said that nearly 100 Sikhs currently serve in the US Army and Air ForceAir Force wearing full beards and turbans.
We hope Toor’s appeal finds sympathetic ears and the same allowances that have been granted to the Sikhs serving in the US Army and Air Force are also granted to the Marines as well. The Sikh CoalitionSikh Coalition is supporting the move and will be taking the appeal forward.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.