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Ranbir Kaur made history in 2003 as the first Sikh woman to join the US armed forces. Her journey began when she joined the US National Guard at just 17 years old. Born in the Nijjran village of Jalandhar district, Punjab, she arrived in the United States as a seven-year-old when her father, Mahan Singh, pursued the American dream and secured a green card in 1990.

Growing up in the isolated town of Earlimart, California, Ranbir's connection with the military started in 2001 when she was a freshman in high school in the nearby city of Delano. In 2003, as the daughter of a Sikh grape grower, she faced opposition from white supremacists who wrongly believed her recruitment was an attempt to gain citizenship. However, Ranbir was already a US citizen, and she silenced her critics through dedicated and rigorous training.

Despite the challenges she faced, Ranbir Kaur's determination and commitment made her a trailblazer in the US armed forces, breaking barriers and proving that she could succeed regardless of her background.

In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, a devoted Sikh named Ranbir played a crucial role in saving the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikh faith, as the gurudwara in New Orleans was flooded. United Sikhs, an organization, asked for her help, and Ranbir rallied everyone when she shared that the sacred Guru of Sikhs was submerged.

Amidst the chaos, with random shootings happening, Air Force rescue experts named David Cruz and Tom Bausmas dedicated 22 hours to rescue the Guru Granth Sahib from the rising waters. Their heroic efforts ensured that this sacred religious text was saved during a time of great adversity.

*Based on an article by Harpal Singh on 4th March 2009


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