Capt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan is inundated with press attention at his graduation ceremony. Photo credit: Associated Press.

Capt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan, the first Sikh in a generation allowed to complete U.S. Army basic officer training without sacrificing the articles of his faith, completed the nine-week training March 22nd after Army officials made an exemption to a policy that has effectively prevented Sikhs from enlisting since 1984, reports the Associated Pres. Rattan had to get a waiver from the Army to serve without sacrificing the unshorn hair mandated by his faith. Rattan — who received a master’s degree in engineering before pursuing a dental education offers health care skills that are in high demand in an Army stretched by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Before the Army’s regulation change in 1984, Sikhs served in the U.S. military during every major armed conflict going back to World War I. Those who joined before the change were allowed to serve with their beards and turbans, but the policy effectively prevented new enlistment of Sikhs.

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