Manjinder Kaur was in the Police Academy from freshman year of her high school (9th grade), and from school projects, She found that she loved the idea of being in the military. She joined the United States Army at age 17 (November of 2001), turned 18 in boot camp training, and celebrated her 19th birthday […]
Manjinder Kaur was in the Police Academy from freshman year of her high school (9th grade), and from school projects, She found that she loved the idea of being in the military. She joined the United States Army at age 17 (November of 2001), turned 18 in boot camp training, and celebrated her 19th birthday in Mosul, Iraq.
She was born in Pind Mian-wal Arian, Dist Jalandhar, Punjab. After her father, Charanjeet Singh, filed for them, she came to California at age 6 with her mother, Lakhwinder Kaur and became a citizen shortly after. She has three younger siblings who are born in California.
She grew up in Stockton, California. When the 9/11 attacks happened, her father stopped wearing his turban and started to wear hats and beanies in fear of attacks from people who didn’t know the difference between Indians and Muslim terrorists.
Sharing her views on that, “I love being a Sikh, so I was very upset and decided that I would spread word about my religion to the world and that is why I joined. I watched the twin towers fall in history class on Sept 11- only 12 days before my 17th birthday. I wanted to join right way, but I could not join until I was 17. So, I completed my requirements for the army and signed up two months later, in November 2001. After completing 4 years in police academy during high school, I was ready to go further.”
She was deployed to Iraq from 2003 to 2004. She was part of the first team in the United States Army- “OIF Team One” was our title. From there, She volunteered for many missions without fear. She was chosen to go on many missions with my top leaders because she was Punjabi, she looked like an Iraqi, and many Iraqis respected her .
She shares her experience in Iraq saying “With this in common, many leaders wanted me to go with them. I lost some battle buddies in a fight against the enemies-(they were killed), one was my leader Command Sergeant Major Wilson. I was among several that were injured during combat. Some of the things I did was helping train and teach Iraqi police officers, women, and children, and handled enemy prisoners, and more. “
“After redeploying, I was stationed in Germany. I continued to spread word about being a Sikh and how we are a peaceful religion and the differences between us and Islam. Many soldiers were not happy to meet me at first because they thought I was a Muslim, but when I talked to them about being a Sikh, they started to understand and accept me- but I guess I could say ‘us’ referring to Sikhs as a whole. I am very proud of being blessed so I could spread our religion to many places around the world. I had my Nitnem Gutka Sahib with me when I was in the Army and would do Paatth often, no matter where I was.”
She is now a retired war veteran. She expresses her deep desire to continue to spread knowledge about Sikhism and even did her bit many school and college projects, videos, interviews, and reports on it, especially around Vaisakhi and Gurpurab.
She owns a vegetarian business where we make soaps, oils, lotions, conditioners, body scrubs, foot scrubs, make-up, and many more products perfect for the Sikh community, and especially for the Amritdharis. She has had a passion to serve the community since she was young and she chose to do so by providing products without animal ingredients in them.
On her last not, she shares her message
“I may not be the first Sikh female, but as I’ve researched, I have not found any others that joined before me. I would like to give a benefit of doubt and state that I am confident that I am at least in the top two count.
I am very proud of EVERY Sikh female that enters the United States Armed Forces and would like to one day stand beside them. Nothing would make me more happy than to meet these wonderful women!”
~ Tapasleen Kaur
NOTE- Due to lack to accurate information from the sources, we would like to rectify the information regarding the First SIKH Woman to join US army in our previous post about Ranbir Kaur
We would also like to invite such SIKH personalities to share their achievements so that it acts as a medium to inspire the Youth!