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Beard and turban approved for Sikh airman

Airman 1st Class Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa has become the first active-duty Sikh airman permitted to wear a turban, bear...

For the first time, the Air Force has granted a Sikh airman permission to wear a turban, beard and long hair, following the practices of his faith.

Airman 1st Class Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa, a crew chief at McChord Air Force Base, Washington, is now the first active airman who has been authorized to adhere to Sikh religious grooming and dress principles while serving in the Air Force.

“I’m overjoyed that the Air Force has granted my religious accommodation,” said Bajwa. “Today, I feel that my country has embraced my Sikh heritage, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.”

A first-generation American, born to an immigrant family, Bajwa enlisted in the Air Force in 2017, eager to give back by serving his country. At the time, he was not permitted to practice certain Sikh beliefs due to Air Force grooming and dress rules.

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