Cadet carries on grandfather’s dream
By Kayla Boyd
Feature Photo by Harrison Hill
(Pictured above: Cadre members congratulate Sacramento State University cadet Jasmine Kaur after her commissioning ceremony on the last day of her LDAC summer training.)
Even though Jasmine Kaur didn’t meet her grandfather until she was 20 years old and knew him only six months before he passed away, she knew his dreams and she made them her motivation.
Kaur is a prior-service Cadet of Bravo Company 6th Regiment who recently graduated from Army ROTC Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Knox. Much of her extended family have also served in the military.
“My family, both of my grandfathers, my cousins, my uncles, have been in the military,” she said. “I’m actually Indian so they’ve been in the Indian military, Air Force, Marines and everything.”
Her grandfather, Hazuri Singh Chaudhary, was a captain the military when he retired before she was born.
“This was my grandfather’s dream so when the time was right for me, it was after he passed away, I realized how important it was for me to pretty much fulfill my dream. I joined ROTC and he was my motivation.”
Cadet Shelby Johnson of Eastern Washington University in Cheney shared a tent with Kaur since the first day of LDAC. Throughout their 29-day stay, the two became close friends.
“She wanted to do it for her grandfather I think,” Johnson said of her battle buddy. “It was his dream and she kinda wanted to fulfill that. It became her dream.”
Notably, Kaur is the first female in her family to join the military.
“He was my push to finish what I started,” she said. “It’s what I wanted but I didn’t know I wanted it as bad as, you know, as after his death I realized this is what I really needed to do, to change myself and do something for him.”
Although she’s been in ROTC only two years, Kaur graduated on March 23 from Sacramento State University in Sacramento, California. On July 15, she graduated from LDAC and commissioned into the Army as a Second Lieutenant.
“We have those late night girl talks,” Johnson said of her newly commissioned friend. “A lot about her, her fiance, um, just some of the struggles that she’s gone through to [get] where she is now.”
Not only did Kaur join for her grandfather, but for her family back in India as well.
“I’m their idol,” she said. “They look up to me and my family back home, they’re really happy that I’m actually doing something for my grandfather because they all knew that my grandfather wanted at least someone, one of his grandchildren, if not his kids, to go in. So everyone supports me.”
She and her family members who are also in the military have an extra special bond – arguing about which branch is the best.
“We tend to argue because, you know, there’s Air Force in my family, there’s Navy, my little cousin, he’s a Navy SEAL, but in Indian Navy SEALs,” she said. “So we’re always making fun of each other but at the end we’re all proud of each other.”
Kaur entered the Army at a time in her life when she knew she needed a change.
“There was a point in time where I really needed something new, and military was my motivation,” she said. “And it completely changed my life and made me a lot stronger person.”
Johnson said Kaur is loyal and extremely hardworking. Kaur was tasked with losing some weight and several inches off her waist when she arrived.
“They were just constantly telling her, ‘hey, you know, you still have to lose more weight or you have to lose inches around your waist,’” Johnson said. “And then I’d say it was four or five days ago, she came into the tent just with the biggest smile on her face, and she was so happy. She passed her tape [test] and she did awesome.”
Before basic training, Kaur said she was a spoiled princess. She hated running, never cleaned, and depended on her family to provide everything for her.
“When I went to basic training, I learned what mopping was,” she said. “I never saw the big handle mop. And I never cooked, I never served, you know my mom always did that for us. For my family it was all, ‘get your education, we’ll do everything for you, all you do is just go to school.’ So I learned how tough life can be without your family.”
Now, Kaur is proud of the number of push-ups and sit-ups she can do. Beyond that, she said, she’s proud of the person she has become.
“I was not a strong person,” she said. “I didn’t love myself as much before and then slowly, slowly I realized that, you know, in order for others to love you and respect you, you have to respect and love yourself.”
Kaur’s fiance Jay Minhas surprised her at the commissioning ceremony and pinned on her shoulder boards.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Kaur said, breathing a sigh of relief after the ceremony. “I’m kinda still in shock. Just about all of it.
“I’m very motivated and I’m not just anybody, I’m somebody now,” she said with a smile. “And even my community back home, my temple, they all support me, they’re all proud of me.”