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Sikh News First Turbaned Sikh Officer Of Canadian Air Force Visited Halifax Gurdwara


Jun 1, 2004
Message Courtesy Jagpal Singh Ji Tiwana

Halifax Gurdwara Sangat gave a very warm welcome to 2nd Lieutenant Jasbir Singh Tatla when he, accompanied by 2nd Lieutenant Gurpreet Singh Bajwa, visited the Gurdwara on Sunday, May 23, 2010. He was invited by his friends Mr Sukhjinder Singh Dhillon and Mrs. Manvinder Kaur Dhillon. Mrs. Dhillon is the secretary of the Gurdwara Management committee this year..
Mr Tatla was introduced by Jagpal Singh Tiwana as a committed soldier who belonged to a family with long military history. His great-grandfather, Inder Singh, was a vetern of the First World War, his grandfather, Mall Singh, fought in the Burma War, and his father, Gurdarshan Singh, retired as an Honorary Flying Officer. An uncle of his, Sukhdev Singh, was a brigadier in the Indian Army.

Mr Tatla created history in Canada in 2008 when he, as a turbaned Sikh, became a commissioned officer in Canadian Air Force.

Mr. Tatla's attachment to Guru Ghar was evident when he volunteered to play tabla in the Gurdwara in the absence of the regular tabla player and surprised every one with his highly developed musical skills.

Mr. Satnam Singh Randhawa, a senior member of the Maritime Sikh Society, presented a Siropa, a robe of honor, to Mr. Tatla on behalf of the Sangat. It was received by a resounding Jaikara of Bole So Nihal.

Later Mr. Tatla was interviewed by Mr. Tiwana at Mr. Dhillon's residence.
Tatla wears a special light-blue turban when in his dress uniform. Actually light-blue color of the turban was recommended by him which Air Force authorities accepted and prescribed as the color of the turban of Sikh officer's uniform. Mr. Tatla is a vegetarian, a teetotaler and doesn't carry a kirpan. Wearing a helmet proves a challenge but a manageable one. "I wear a small turban on my head and tie my hair around my head instead of in the centre," said Tatla. "It is a little uncomfortable, but there is no option."
Tatla was born in Dhothar village in Ludhiana district of Punjab, India. He attended Central School, Halwara, and G.H.G Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar. He earned his Bachelor of Engineering from G.N.E. Engineering College, Ludhiana, and Master of Technology from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Mr. Tatla immigrated to Canada in June, 1999.

With that academic background and the military tradition of the family always on his mind, Mr. Tatla, passed the Canadian Forces entrance examination in 2003, and waited four years for a security background check from India. He was detailed to undergo training at Venture Naval Officers Training Center Esquimalt, Victoria, in April. His graduation ceremony was held on July 12, 2008..

When speaking about the rigors of hard and hazardous training, Mr. Tatla that he often thought of quitting, but carried on. He had to lose about 30 lbs before the graduation ceremony. His father's push and family's military tradition kept him going . After a struggle of five years, Tatla not only achieved his goal, but also brought honor to his community. Keeping that in view, several Sikh societies have honored him.

Tatla gives all the credit to his mother Hardial Kaur and father Gurdarshan Singh Tatla for their dedication. He has two sisters, Jasvinder Kaur Mann and Kamaljit Kaur. He is married to Pawandeep and the couple have two sons, Sahib and Jugr

At present he is getting retraining at the Canadian Air Force base in Fredericton, NB and can be contacted at 604-721-0626,

Jagpal Singh Tiwana
Director Communications
Maritime Sikh Society
Halifax, Canada


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