Devan Cole, CNN, June 7, 2019
The US Air Force granted a religious accommodation to a Sikh airman to allow him to wear a turban, beard and unshorn hair while serving, making him the first active duty airman to receive such an accommodation, a group that assisted with the accommodation told CNN Friday.
Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa, a crew chief at the McChord Air Force Base near Lakewood, Washington, was granted the accommodation in March after he made a request for it in coordination with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Sikh American Veterans Alliance, Lt. Col. Kamal Kalsi, the president of SAVA, told CNN.
Kalsi said Bajwa and the groups waited to announce the accommodation while the airman was growing out his beard and trying to figure out how to wear his turban with his uniform.
“This is a one-off individual accommodation and we’re looking forward to the day when Sikhs can walk into the Air Force recruiting office and join just like any other American,” he said, adding that Sikhs should “not have to choose between serving and their faith.”