Hindu C-17 Pilot on Faith and the Falcons
LtCol Ravi Chaudhary has an interesting article on his experiences as a Hindu cadet at the US Air Force Academy many years ago:
As one of the few Hindu cadets at USAFA in 1989, the Academy was very accommodating to my spiritual needs. USAFA Chaplains even dusted off a small “all faiths” room in the Cadet Chapel to ensure I had every opportunity to practice my faith. This gesture made all the difference and supported my spiritual development during my Doolie year.
Events like these dot the spiritual landscape at USAFA, and serve as a unifying force for the entire Cadet Wing. At lunch time, the entire student body sits down to eat together and each member is given a moment of silence for individual prayer prior to the meal — a sign of respect for the diversity of the Cadet Wing.
[The] Air Force Academy is…quickly becoming a high-profile example of interfaith unity in our country. The Cadets have transformed their institution into an environment where expressing enthusiasm for faith is encouraged, without constricting the beliefs of another. USAFA has established a Special Program in Religious Education (SPIRE) where Cadets can dispel false perceptions and facilitate greater understanding of faith groups.
(Actually, SPIRE has been around for years, and is currently targeted for elimination by Michael Weinstein, despite Chaudhary’s praise.)
Chaudhary also recounts several positive experiences as a Hindu member of a diverse US Air Force, even when deployed away from his base of faith.
Though Chaudhary admits he based the themes of his article on Remember the Titans and borrowed from their dialogue, the article is worth the quick read.