“Army Is In Your Blood”: Fighting For An Accommodation To Serve His Country While Practicing His Faith

Gurjiwan Singh Chahal


Gurjiwan Singh Chahal was born in Canada, but grew up primarily in Sterling Heights, Michigan, with his older sister. His family hailed from India, and his grandfather had served in the British Army during World War I. Gurjiwan’s father had immigrated to Canada in the 1980s during the anti-Sikh riots (or Sikh massacre). When the family settled in Michigan, Gurjiwan developed an interest in both soccer and the Army. After receiving an acceptance letter from West Point, he was still unsure if he would attend the Academy until he received an accommodation to keep his long hair and beard and wear a turban in accordance with his Sikh faith. After initially picking Mechanical Engineering, he transitioned to majoring in Social Sciences, calling it his best decision. Throughout his Cadet career, he has participated in Crew and Sandhurst, completed Air Assault training, and helped with high school outreach through the LEADS program (Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity in STEM). In this interview, he describes some of the tenets of his Sikh faith. After graduating, Gurjiwan will branch Infantry.


topics Teamwork Faith and Religion West Point History Leadership Camaraderie COVID-19
interviewer David Siry
date 11 May 2021


name Gurjiwan Singh Chahal
institution USMA
graduation year 2021
service Infantry
specialty Sikh
service dates 2021