The cornerstone of the military is discipline and conformity. The simplest example can be found in a soldier's uniform: Everyone dresses the same, everyone acts the same and everyone does the same—and for good reason.
But how important is appearance when it comes to the ability to serve?
When the Army told him he would be required to give up the beard, knee-length hair and turban that symbolize his religion, he refused. Instead, he fought for the right to serve while still wearing the symbols that honor his religious tradition.
In 2009, the Army granted him a special exception—making him the first Sikh to win permission to serve while still wearing his turban and beard.
Now, Major Kalsi is challenging the military to broaden that exception in order to make it possible for other would-be Sikh soldiers to serve in the U.S. military, too. He joins The Takeaway to discuss his efforts so far.