Monday, December 12, 2005

No Meat for You

RSR: Being a vegetarian in the army has been a very small inconvenience as the army is quite accommodating. To day the highest rank to ever had deliver me a vegetarian meal is a Major. (Some may dispute this and say it was L. Colonel but they are just exaggerating). Oh, and the new vegetarian instant meals are quite good.

DSB: Getting a Veggie meal is not guaranteed. I often bring additional food, (granola bars, powdered soup, nuts, and seeds) to supplement my rations in the field.

Turbans Vs. Helmet??

Helmets are tough issue to deal with; to someone in the west is might seem pretty clear cut.

Sikhs have a long history of soldiering. They have fought through India, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Pacific. As far as I know they never wore helmets.

I’m not versed enough on Sikh theology to really go out on a limb and state a consensus view here. I can state that in my conversations I have come across people who are vehemently against it and people who don’t think it’s a major issue. I often get the line “God decides when you die, wearing a helmet will not change your destiny”, (I paraphrased that by the way).

In India there are 1000s of Sikh soldiers who are regularly in operational conditions. They do not wear helmets. In fact Sikhs do not wear helmets in any job in India; not for motorcycles, not on construction sites etc…

I personally don’t like wearing a helmet…they are not the most comfortable things to put on. I do however wear one. I tie a dastar, (a touch smaller than I normally would), and place the helmet over top.

The other Sikhs I’ve come across in the CF wear helmets over their Turbans or Patkas. No helmet = no CF service.


Pulling and patching while eating cantaloupe, a great day.

Usually I tie a small dastar and wear a helmet on top. If I’m doing a lot of activity I’ll tie a patka.

This picture was taken during a break in my JNCO. It was hot; you can see how the sweat has ruined my cam.

In this one you can see my smaller dastar… a ‘goal pug’. That’s what I usually wear in the field.


DSB: A little too pretty here....

RSR: It all started at the back of a first year physics class where D told me about the army and his experiences with it. Prior to that I honestly didn’t even know Canada had an army. That day, I just saw the ’Canadian Forces’ shirt D was wearing (he will deny ever owning such a shirt) and after 50min I was totally convinced. Then, two days later I was at a recruiting centre ready to save the world from commies or terrorists or international drug cartels or something. Seriously though, what better (or more adventurous) way for an undergrad student interested in medicine to earn some coin than being a medic in the reserves.

I didn’t really think I would stick around for more than a year but now, almost eight years later, the friends and unique employment opportunities have managed to keep me around. Overall, my experience with the army has been overwhelmingly positive I have met a lot of interesting people and almost all of them have shown an earnest interest in the turban and Sikhism. Further to that, I have yet to experience institutionalized discrimination, or prejudice beliefs shown by any of my superiors in the army.

Outside of the army I am a third year medical student at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

DSB: RSR is looking for a woman to complete him. If you are, (or know a gal who might be), the one who can be the wind beneath his wings get in touch.


This member does not want a web presence, hence the blue bar.

I am filling in his Bio and I'm sure he won't be terribly pleased by it.

I like to think of G as the snack machine. This guy always has something to eat in his pockets. I guess you need that extra engery when you're as active as he is.

He has taken full advatnage of what the army has to offer. He is a regular on CACs, Southern Drives and other joint operations. A proffessional who had opportunity to apply some of his medical skills in Banda Ache after the Tsunami.

He definitely has the travel bug. He is looking to get married, so if you know of anyone who might interested feel free to get in touch.

G feel free to add/delete/or make any changes you wish.




I joined the Army Reserve in 1996, and I work as a Med Tech. Initially I wanted to work in another trade but couldn’t due to my vision; what a stroke of luck that was. I love my job and I love my unit.

Currently there are three Sikhs in my unit and we have had next to no problems in the CF. I have not come across any blatant discrimination or harassment. In fact what I have come across is positive curiosity, understanding, and acceptance. The CF is a professional institution and in the end it all comes down to level of competence and your professionalism.

When I am not working with my FD AMB I work as an educator.