Navy SEAL veteran from ‘American Sniper’ to speak at Kent State

Kathryn Monsewicz

The Navy SEAL veteran who played himself in the movie “American Sniper” is coming to Kent State to speak about his journey from being a borderline college dropout to a dedicated Navy SEAL by taking, balancing and overcoming risks. 

“He really does an educational piece,” said Joshua Rider, the director of the Center for Adult and Veteran Services, about Kevin Lacz. “It’s not just about his story. He takes his experience and kind of brings that to people. It’s a great opportunity for growth and to learn about leadership.” 

Lacz was part of two tours in the Iraq War, serving as a platoon sniper, breacher and combat medic.

Upon honorable discharge from the Navy, Lacz was awarded many commendations, including a Bronze Star with a combat “V” award. He works today as a physician’s assistant, partakes in charity and goes to college campuses across the nation to speak about his experience. 

After his speech, there will be a signing for Lacz’s book, “The Last Punisher,” about his account as a SEAL team sniper in the 2006 Battle of Ramadi fought during the Iraq War. Ramadi at the time was the most dangerous city in Iraq. The battle was also a part of “American Sniper.”

His presentation will be held in the Student Center Ballroom Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.

Lacz’s speech about risk-taking is the first part of Kent State’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.

The importance of the Veterans Day ceremony shows the respect Kent State has for veterans and service members of the community.

“It is also a respect for the student veterans both past, present and the ones who are going to be veterans or service members,” Rider said. “It shows them the respect and that you appreciate the sacrifices they are making for their country.”

The ceremony for Veterans Day on Nov. 9 begins at 11 a.m. with the Army and Air Force ROTC conducting the color guard and posting the flags in the Kiva, where the ceremony will be held. President Beverly Warren and Lacz will also speak at this ceremony.

Kathryn Monsewicz is the military and veterans reporter. Contact her at [email protected].