Sikh officer in US Marines was allowed turban, but he may sue

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Sep 27, 2021, 07:09 PM IST

First Lt. Sukhbir Toor wraps his turban at a Marine Corps training facility in Twentynine Palms, Calif., Sept. 24, 2021. The Marine Corps has allowed Lieutenant Toor to wear a turban in daily dress at normal duty stations, but not while deployed to a conflict zone, or when in dress uniform in a ceremonial unit. Photograph:(The New York Times)

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After first few years of fully following US Marines rules, First Lt Sukhbir Toor formally asked for permission to wear turban. The permission was granted but there were so many caveats that it almost amounted to a denial

A Sikh officer in United States Marine Corps got permission to wear a turban when on duty. However, there are caveats to this permission and now he may sue the Marine Corps for their removal if his appeal is not upheld.

First Lieutenant Sukhbir Toor is the first person ever to have been granted permission to wear a turban by US Marines, a branch of US military which is absolutely strict about its dress code. Marines have been known to incorporate changes very late compared to other branches of US military. 

First Lt. Toor got a permission to wear turban in daily dress at normal duty. But he cannot do so in conflict zone or while serving in a ceremonial unit. An he is not happy with it. He has made an appeal to Marine Corps Commandant.


“We’ve come a long way, but there is still more to go,” he was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

“The Marine Corps needs to show it really means what it has been saying about strength in diversity — that it doesn’t matter what you look like, it just matters that you can do your job.”

Toor joined US Marines after college in 2017. Initially, he shaved his beard and wore standard headgear of the Marines. But as he progressed and became a captain, he decided that it was time he found a way to honour both, his country and his religion.


(First Lt Sukhbir Toor, image: The New York Times)

He formally asked for permission to wear a turban and to keep a beard. He was granted permission but with so many restrictions that it amounted to a denial.

Toor appealed the decision. The Marine Corps retreated somewhat and allowed him to wear turban while on ordinary duty. However, a turban was prohibited while his possible service in a ceremonial unit.

Toor is going a step ahead and pressing for more permissions as he feels restrictions on turban may deter Sikhs and Muslims from joining US Marine Corps.