University of Iowa student becomes first Sikh Air Force cadet in US history

DREAMS COME TRUE FOR A THIRD-YEAR STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. SHARON BURKE HAS ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A FIGHTER PILOT, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS SIKH FAITH, HE FEARED HAVING TO CHOOSE FAITH OVER HIS DREAM CAREER. THANKS TO THE ASSISTANCE OF THE IOWA AIR FORCE UNIVERSITY ROTC DETACHMENT. 255 BURKE BECOMES FIRST SIKH CADET IN COUNTRY’S HISTORY. HE WILL NOW BE ALLOWED TO WEAR TURBAN, BEARD AND BRACELET. RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS OF FAITH. BUT I JUST KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE A PROCESS FOR CHANGE TO HAPPEN. SO BUT I DIDN’T REALLY FEEL IT AS AN OBSTACLE BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, EVERYONE AROUND ME HAS BEEN REALLY SUPPORTIVE AND HELPFUL. SO IT WAS REALLY, REALLY A VERY SMOOTH PROCESS, ME. BURKE SAYS IN TOTAL PROCESS TO BECOME A CADET W

University of Iowa student becomes first Sikh Air Force cadet in US history

Gursharan Virk always wanted to be a fighter pilot. But because of his Sikh faith, he feared he would have to choose faith over his dream career. With the help of the University of Iowa Air Force ROTC Detachment 255, Virk became the first Sikh cadet in the nation’s history. He will be allowed to keep his beard and wear traditional religious symbols of his faith – a turban and a bracelet.” But I just knew it was going to be a process to, you know, make change happen. I don’t I didn’t feel like I was a hindrance, because, you know, everyone around me was really supportive and helpful, so it was really a very smooth process for me,” Virk said. Virk said the process to become a cadet was about 8-9 months in total.

Gursharan Virk always wanted to be a fighter pilot. But because of his Sikh faith, he feared he would have to choose faith over his dream career.

With the help of the University of Iowa Air Force ROTC Detachment 255, Virk became the first Sikh cadet in the nation’s history.

He will be allowed to keep his beard and wear the traditional religious symbols of his faith – a turban and a bracelet.

“But I just knew it would be a process to, you know, make the change happen. But…it didn’t feel like a hindrance, because, you know, everyone around me really supported and helped was really a very smooth process for me,” Virk said.

Virk said the process to become a cadet was about 8-9 months in total.