Buddhist Monk Joins US Air Force

Moody AFB published an interesting article about A1C Kornkawee Rue Art, who started out life as a Thai Buddhist monk until an encounter with an old friend inspired him to join the US Air Force. Ironically, the meeting occurred when he was on a missionary trip — to the US:

In Thailand, a monk is one who studies Buddhism, practices in its ways, follows the rules of and lives at the temple. They practice and teach meditation, along with being spiritual consultants and lead ceremonies. A common pilgrimage monks undergo is missionary work, traveling across the world to bolster their faith in other countries.

In an interesting admission, Rue Art noted that having to deal with conflict has ‘tested his faith’:

“You learn how to deal with conflict (as a monk), but you never experience it,” Rue Art said. “…So, when something would make me feel mad or upset, I would wonder how I’m going refresh myself every day and be ready to go to work tomorrow. But with my Buddhist beliefs I was actually able to put it into practice and see how it really does work.”

Rue Art isn’t the first monk-to-US troop. For example, US Navy Chaplain (LT) Aroon Seeda also left the temple to become a US Navy chaplain.

US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt