WASHINGTON — Raised on his father's and grandfather's tales of military service in India, Amitoj Chhabra wanted nothing more than to follow in their footsteps and join the U.S. Air Force.
"I dreamt it. I slept it. It was all I ever thought about 24/7," Chhabra recalled.
But the dream died before he even reached boot camp.
When he tried to enlist, Chhabra, a Sikh from Reno, was told that his long hair and beard, which Sikhs are religiously mandated to keep unshorn, collided with Air Force grooming requirements. He requested a religious waiver, but after two months, he received no response. Next he tried the Army, but says his application was...