My Biography

Chaplain (CPT) Songkran Waiyaka

            Songkran Waiyaka was born in Chiangrai, Thailand, in 1972. He was raised in a Buddhist family, ordained as a Buddhist Samanera (novice monk) when he was 13 in 1985, and ordained as a Buddhist Bhikkhu (fully ordained monk) in 1993 at Wat Rajanaddaram, Bangkok, Thailand. He served as a Buddhist Spiritual leader in Thailand for 12 years.

Prior to entering the United States Army Chaplain Corps, CH. Waiyaka worked at Wat Buddhanusorn, the Thai Buddhist temple in Fremont, California to serve people in the San Francisco Bay Area and other cities. After ten years as a Buddhist monk in America, 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. He became a qualified chaplain (56A) on November 09, 2016. 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 support 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 Science (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:  

2022 C-4 (Captain Career Course) Fort Jackson, South Carolina, USA

2022 SLD (Strategic Leader Development) Program, New York, USA      

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                         


Present : Battalion chaplain, 53rd Transportation Battalion, JBLM, Washington, 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 (56A), 92nd CH DET. "Fight Tonight Unit",  Mesa, Arizona, USA

2011 Chaplain candidate (56X), 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 

- The Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Clover

- The Army Commendation Medal