Army Rangers, American Sikh’s, Service, Presidential Candidates
GRP 39- On for this episode are two guest who I had two different conversations with. The first guest is SGT Bryce Mahoney. SGT Mahoney served from 2001 until 2007. He served with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and E. Co 51st Infantry LRS (Long Range Surveillance). SGT Mahoney holds a Purple Belt in Royce Gracie BJJ, and is a father of 3. We discuss combative systems, his time deployed in combat, and a little politics.
The second conversation I had is with Sikh Major Kamal Kalsi. Major Kalsi is a doctor, and entered the Army via a health Professions Scholarship Program. He comes from a long line of military service with members of his family serving in the Indian, British, and American militaries. Sikh’s have a strong warrior ethos’s, and history as warriors fighting oppression in they’re history. Below is an excerpt from my conversation with Major Kalsi.
My conversation with Major Kalsi begins at the 52:52 second mark of the episode. Below is an excerpt from my conversation with the Major.
John Hendricks: One of the main reasons why you’d received some media attention is because you like many others have had an issue with trying to maintain your identity while serving in the US Army. Can you just explain a little bit of what that was initially?
Major Kamal Kalsi: Sikh’s have served for generations in the US military. We have these beautiful historic photos from the early 1900’s that show Sikh soldiers serving in the Army, serving in the Air force, serving in the Navy, and it wasn’t until the early 19080’s that Sikh’s were banned from joining the military because of our articles of faith because of a policy change. When I joined the Army in 2001 about 8 months before 9/11 a recruiter came to medical school and asked me if I would like to join, and I jumped at the opportunity.
I come from 3 generations of military service. My father, and my grandfather were both in the Indian Air force. My great grandfather was in the Royal British Army. It’s what we do as Sikh’s. The warrior ethos is a strong part of our heritage, it’s a strong part of our religious indoctrination. It’s in our blood, it’s who we are. In 2008, as I was finished my residency I reached out to my chain of command, and let them know that I’m about to come on full time active duty, and I just wanted to let you know that I have a turban and beard.
It hasn’t been an issue so far, and the initial response was yeah we have Sikh’s in the Army no problem. A month later I got a call saying well we looked into the regulations, and we need you to put in an accommodation request in order to keep you’re religiously mandated turban and beard. So it was an amicable process we worked through it. It took me a year and a half of paper work. It took 50 congressional signatures on a letter to Secretary of Defense Gates at the time, it took 15,000 petitioners on a similar letter to him. It took pressure from the White House. It took half a million dollars of lobbying just to get me in.
SGT Bryce Mahoney:
Ranger Rally Point
Ranger Rally Point
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