Originally posted on 14 Dec 2011 :

Military awards gallantry medals to soldiers of conspicuous valor. This morning, I read in the papers that Maj KS Kalsi of their medical corps has been decorated with the “Bronze Star Medal” for saving lives. The US system of awards is different from ours, and therefore a direct comparison is not possible. However, I gather that this medal is higher than the much coveted “Purple Heart”. A copy of the news as received by me reads as follows :

December 7, 2011 (New York, New York) – The U.S. Army’s first turbaned Sikh soldier in over 30 years returned home from Afghanistan and received a Bronze Star Medal for his service.

Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi received the Bronze Star Medal for “exceptionally meritorious service as an emergency medicine physician” while deployed in Afghanistan during the first half of the year. The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth-highest combat award in the U.S. Armed Forces.

In support of the award, an official recommendation from Major Kalsi’s superiors cites his resuscitation back to life of two patients who were clinically dead on arrival; his “expert” emergency care of over 750 soldiers and civilians; coordination of 5 mass casualty exercises; and his general “commitment and leadership above and beyond that of his general duties.”

To his credit, Major Kalsi even set up camp-wide Internet access for over 200 soldiers at Camp Dwyer in Helmand, Afghanistan, where he was deployed. After his service, he was promoted from Captain to Major.

In our tradition, serving the wounded soldiers has always been considered noble. Bhai Ghanayya ji (1648-1718) was blessed for giving water to even the enemy soldiers!

Maj Kalsi has indeed won many hearts. I have received some clips of his interviews on television. I give below an excerpt from what he had to say to some children, who were inquisitive to know the details of how the doctors perform their duties in combat :

  1. karumbaya says:

    During World War II, I understand all RMOs of combat units were awarded Military Cross. One of them is my Late Cousin Brig KC Ganapathy who was a RMO of an infantry battalion in Italy.

  2. J Thomas says:

    Yes, I think it is equivalent to the Sena Medal (Gallantry). We do award the Sena medal & equivalent for desk jobs too.

  3. Dev says:

    Brother Dear,

    Thanks much for both your emails! Guess what – we did not know about the gallantry of Maj Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi and other relevant facts associated with him until we received your mail below. I went to Google and found a lot more information about Maj Kalsi and several other articles on Sikhs like the one where the Queen has included Sikh Guards outside the palace and so on!

    Thanks again to you for such great pieces.

    Any more news on the Reunion?

    Love and regards,

  4. WAZIR KUMAR says:

    thanks and cheers. he should visit AMRI calcutta to train bengali babu medicos

  5. J Thomas says:

    Thanks and congrats to Major KS Kalsi.
    The Purple Heart is equivalent to our “wound medal” and is not necessarily for gallantry.

  6. Amar Bhalla says:

    I know this boy and his father.Tell you the story how this turbaned sikh got into US ARMY, when we meet at IMA.

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