RANBIR KAUR'S MILITARY UNIT HEADS TO IRAQRanbir Kaur, a Sikh teenager from California, is among the women who are set to join the U.S. military in Iraq. A 19-year-old college student, she will soon set aside her textbooks and go in harm's way in service of her country.
Following American rules that restrict the role of women in combat, Kaur expects to work as a supply clerk as well as participate in supply convoys that transport rations, weapons, and other necessities across Iraq's dangerous roads. Ranbir has already successfully completed extensive combat training including the use of grenades, maintenance and operation of automatic assault rifles, battlefield tactics, and grueling drills like sharpshooting practice while lying in 3-inch deep mud for 8+ hours at a time. More chilling tutorials have included first aid triage to deal with mass wounded and preparations for the use of chemical agents.
While cleaning her weapon during a training session with her Army National Guard unit, Kaur smiles and says she looks forward to going to war with her fellow soldiers. "And then coming back alive together," she adds. "That would be the best thing."
Update: During the recent flooding in New Orleans, Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina, Ranbir Kaur played a pivotal role in obtaining Zodiac Boats to secure Sri Guru Granth Sahib which had been feared submerged. A curfew was in effect and residents were banned from re-entering the area. Roving gangs were looting nearby businesses and homes, resulting in sporadic bursts of gunfire. The rescue operation took over 22 hours but successfully prevented any further desecration to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Miraculously, Sri Guru Granth Sahib was found untouched by the 9-foot deep water due to the buoyant materials on which it by chance had been resting.
The Sikh Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, pledged a quarter of a billion rupees to aid the United States during relief efforts. Sikh organizations also supported victims on the ground, feeding, clothing, and sheltering well over 1,300 Americans for a period of more than a month