Young Sikh Woman Serves U.S. National Guard in Kabul

May 16, 2006

Source: The Times of India

On May 16, 2006 The Times of India reported, "She donned an M-16 rifle on her shoulders when she was 17. At 20, she is patrolling the streets of Kabul. Meet Indian-born Ranbir Kaur of US National Guards who first hit headlines in 2003 after becoming the first Sikh girl to join the US armed forces that consists of over 2,00,000 women soldiers. Presently on active duty in Afghanistan, Kaur is attached with the 315th SECFOR and is on one-and-a-half-year mission in the war-torn country. Born in Nijjran village of Jalandhar district, the young warrior reached the US as a seven-year-old after her father Mahan Singh, pursuing dollar dreams, secured a green card in 1990. Brought up in an isolated burg Earlimart in California, her fling with the uniform dates back to 2001 when she was a freshman (Grade IX) in high school at Delano, the closest city from their isolated residence. 'I would see army, marines, air force and the navy standing outside the career centre of the school distributing fliers to students. I thought the uniform was awesome,' she said. This daughter of a Jat Sikh grape grower, in 2003, was condemned by white supremacists who posted spam e-mails terming her recruitment as a way to seek citizenship. Already a US citizen by then, the young girl had dubbed her detractors wrong through hard training and taking all challenges in her stride. 'If death doesn't deter me, nothing else does,' she told [the Times of India] in an exclusive interview. 'I was so upset earlier that I asked myself, that did I join the forces for this treatment? But then, I'm me and I do what I got to do.'"

See also: Sikhism, Women, Military