My Biography

Chaplain (CPT) Songkran Waiyaka

            Chaplain Captain Songkran Waiyaka grew up in a small town in the North of Thailand, where 95 % of the population are Buddhist. At 13 years of age, in 1985, he asked his parents for permission to join the Buddhist monastic order as a Buddhist novice. That was the beginning of his spiritual life at such an early age. In 1993, he became a Buddhist monk. 

Prior to entering the United States Army Chaplain Corps, CH. Waiyaka worked at Wat Buddhanusorn, a Thai Buddhist temple in Fremont, California. As a Buddhist missionary monk, he served the spiritual needs of the Buddhist communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and other cities and states. After ten years as a Buddhist monk in America, he thought about introducing Buddhism to non-Buddhist communities. 

In 2010, he founded the chaplaincy program in the United States Army. Finally, he became a Buddhist lay minister to accomplish this mission. He joined the Army as a direct commissioned officer in the United States Army and was assigned as a Reserve Army chaplain candidate (56X) in 2011. This transition allows him to grow spiritually to serve men and women in the uniform on the other side of his culture, faith, and background to work with the Command Team to nurture the living, care for the wounded, and honor the fallen. 

Monastic and Civilian Academic education:                                                                                                                                                                            

2014: Master of Buddhist Chaplaincy : University of the West, California, USA

2009: Associate of Art (AS Degree in Computer Networking and Information Technology) : City College of San Francisco, California, USA

2006: Associate of Art (AA Degree in General Education) : City College of San Francisco, California, USA                                                           

1997: Bachelor of Art in Humanities : Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Buddhist University, Bangkok, Thailand  

1995: 7th level of Pali Language Study from Wat Suthat Pali School, Bangkok, Thailand                                                                      



2016 CPE II   (Clinical Pastoral Education): Methodist Hospital of Southern California, California, USA

Military education/Trainings:                                                                                                                                                              

2018 CMM (Combat Medical Ministry), Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USA                                                                                                         

2016 Chaplain Practicum, The United States Military Academy (West Point), New York, USA                                                                               

2015 Chaplain Practicum, Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA                                                                                                                                           

2014 Chaplain Practicum, Fort Benning, Georgia, USA                                                                                                                                       

2013 CHBOLC (Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course), Fort Jackson, South Carolina, USA                         


July 2022-Present : Attend school for Captain Career Course, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, USA

2019-2022 Battalion chaplain, 703rd BSB 2nd Armored BCT, Fort Stewart, Georgia, USA

2018 Battalion Chaplain, 387th MP BN., Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

2017 Chaplain, 92nd CH DET. "Fight Tonight Unit",  Mesa, Arizona, USA

2011 Chaplain Candidate, 11th MP BDE., Los Alamitos, California, USA                                                                                                                                                                         


2020 Defender Europe 2020, Poland

2020 JMRC / RAF, Germany

Military Awards:                                                                                                                                                                                   

- Award of the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal 

- Army Achievement Medal

- Army Achievement Medal (Second award)

- The Army Commendation Medal