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First Canadian Sikh soldier takes command of BC regiment

world Updated: Sep 13, 2011 21:54 IST
Gurinder Gill
Gurinder Gill
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Lt.Col. Harjit Singh Sajjan, has become the first Sikh in Canada to take command of a British Columbia regiment. In a historic ceremony, a change of command in the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own) took place on September 11, 2011, at the Beatty Street Armoury in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Lt.-Col. Bruce Kadanoff relinquished command of the regiment to Lt.-Col. Harjit Singh Sajjan, who has taken over as Commanding Officer of the Regiment.

Lt.-Col. Harjit Singh joined the British Columbia Regiment as a Trooper in 1989 and was commissioned in the Regiment in 1991. He was promoted to Captain in 1995 and to Major in 2005. He has served in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as three deployments to Afghanistan.

Lt.-Col. Harjit Singh Sajjan

Established in 1883, the regiment is said to be the oldest military unit in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and has received forty battle honours in its history, and has been a formation of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps since 1942.

Lieutenant-Colonel Harjit Singh was born in Punjab and moved to Canada with his parents at the age of five . Lieutenant-Colonel Harjit Singh's most recent deployment to Afghanistan was in November 2010 .

In the course of his deployments Lieutenant-Colonel Harjit Singh has been awarded a Mentioned-in-Dispatches, Commander in Chief Commendation, two Chief of Defence Staff Commendations and a US Army Commendation. He is also the recipient of the Deputy Minister’s (National Defence) Award.

Prior to joining army,Lieutenant-Colonel Harjit Singh remained a police officer for 11 years with the Vancouver Police Department. He completed his last assignment as a Detective specializing in organized crime in the Gang Crime Unit. He also spent five years as a certified Technical Search Specialist with Vancouver’s Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team.

Father of two children,Harjit Singh is married to Kuljit Kaur, a medical physician, and they reside in Vancouver.

WSO (World Sikh organisation) President Prem Singh Vinning, who attended the Change of Command ceremony said, “this is a proud moment for all Canadian Sikhs. Lt. Col. Sajjan is an inspiration to young Sikhs and he shows just how much a part of Canada Sikhs are today.”