|Sikh girl patrols Kabul streets
May 16, 2006
She donned an M-16 rifle on her shoulders when she was 17. At 20, she is patrolling the streets of Kabul .
CHANDIGARH : 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 TOI 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."
She was initially recruited to be a supply clerk during the Iraq war but since rules didn’t permit women to fight frontline, Ranbir’s job profile kept changing from time to time. "In a situation like Afghanistan everything is frontline," she said.
During the 2005 Katrina hurricane in New Orleans , this devout Sikh was instrumental in recovery of Sikh sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib after the New Orleans Sikh temple was submerged under water.
United Sikhs, an organisation had sought her assistance and Ranbir had got everybody moving after she announced that the living Guru of the Sikhs was under water.
Amidst random shootings, air force rescue experts David Cruz and Tom Bausmas of SRT had rescued the scriptures in an operation that had lasted 22 hours.
Article by Courtesy of http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com