Kevin Lacz, decorated former U.S. Navy SEAL and author of the New York Times best-selling memoir, “The Last Punisher,” will be giving the keynote address at this year’s Heartland Conference on Tuesday, June 13. VGM’s annual member-only event runs from June 12-15 in Waterloo, Iowa.
Lacz’s amazing journey began after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, which took place when he was in college. Fueled by a desire to serve his country, Lacz left college and joined the U.S. Navy. He completed Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training and found a home at SEAL Team THREE Task Unit Bruiser. As a sniper and combat medic, Lacz was crucial to the success of Task Unit Bruiser, which emerged as one of the most highly decorated, special operations units of the Iraq war. He received multiple awards during his service, including a Bronze Star with combat “V” (indicating acts of valor or meritorious services in combat) and the Navy and Marine Commendation Awards with combat “V.”
Lacz left the SEALs in 2010 after eight years of service and took his skills back to the classroom, graduating Magna cum Laude from the University of Connecticut with a degree in political science. He continued on to Wake Forest University, where he graduated with a Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant.
Hollywood Comes Calling
During his tenure at Wake Forest, Lacz was approached by legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood, who asked him to serve as SEAL technical advisor on his adaptation of “American Sniper,” the story of Chris Kyle. Lacz helped the actors accurately portray Navy SEALs and worked closely with Bradley Cooper in particular, who portrayed Kyle in the film. After a short time working together, Cooper convinced Lacz that he should play himself in the film. Eastwood gladly agreed, proud to have someone on screen who knew the film’s events and its hero firsthand. Lacz was an integral part of the Oscar-winning film, which garnered six nominations in 2015, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Cooper).
Lacz released his best-selling memoir on July 12, 2016. “The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE’s Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi” is a bold, no-holds-barred, first-person account of the Iraq war and the pivotal battle that ensured its success. With wry humor and moving testimony, Lacz tells the story of his deployment and the successful implementation of his task unit known as “The Punishers” in helping to secure the city with both the Army and the Marines.
Today, Lacz is a certified physician assistant in Florida, where he co-owns Lifestyle and Performance Medicine-powered by Regenesis, a concierge-based, functional medicine practice. His clients include professional sports teams along with specialized units within U.S. Special Operations Command. Lacz is also the spokesperson for his charity, Hunting for Healing, a Florida non-profit that takes serviced-disabled veterans and their spouses on hunting, fishing and other outdoor expeditions. He is a regular guest on Fox News and has appeared on CNN and MSNBC. He lives in Florida with his wife Lindsey and their children.
Heartland Attendee Opportunity
Heartland attendees will have an up-close and personal opportunity to meet Lacz and to purchase his book during a book-signing event following his keynote address. Click here for more information and to register today for Heartland Conference 2017.