The Last Punisher

A SEAL Team THREE Sniper's True Account of the Battle of Ramadi

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About The Book

Don’t miss the New York Times bestselling on-the-ground memoir from a Navy SEAL who was part of SEAL Team THREE with American Sniper Chris Kyle. Experience his deployment, from his gripping first mission to his first kill to his eventual successful return to the United States to play himself in the Oscar-nominated film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper.

The Last Punisher is a bold, no-holds-barred first-person account of the Iraq War. With wry humor and moving testimony, Kevin Lacz tells the story of his tour in Iraq with SEAL Team THREE, the warrior elite of the Navy. This legendary unit, known as “The Punishers,” included Chris Kyle (American Sniper), Mike Monsoor, Ryan Job, and Marc Lee. These brave men were instrumental in securing the key locations in the pivotal 2006 Battle of Ramadi, told with stunning detail in these pages.

Minute by minute, Lacz relays the edge-of-your-seat details of his team’s missions in Ramadi, offering a firsthand glimpse into the heated combat, extreme conditions, and harrowing experiences they faced every day. Through it all, Lacz and his teammates formed unbreakable bonds and never lost sight of the cause: protecting America with their fight.

The Last Punisher brings the reader into the life and mind of a SEAL, demonstrating the tough realities of war. At the same time, Lacz shares how these experiences made him a better man and how proud he is of his contributions to one of this country’s most difficult military campaigns. Lacz is now an in-demand public speaker testifying to the ability of a veteran to thrive at home. The book includes an afterword on the making of the hit film American Sniper.

The Last Punisher is the story of a SEAL who was never afraid to answer the call.

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

“GET YOUR S**T! All hands to the roof of Shark House!” Marc Lee’s breathless bark snapped me out of sleep.

I didn’t think as I jolted off my cot, stuck my bare feet in my Oakley boots, and grabbed my web gear, machine gun, helmet, and night-vision goggles (NVGs). I ran hot on Marc’s heels, in nothing but a pair of PT shorts and some assault gear, as we raced the hundred yards to the roof like sharks toward blood in the water.

Impending violence permeated the Euphrates’s musty breeze.

“Muj swimmers trying to attack Blue Diamond,” Marc called over his shoulder as we hit the ground-floor entrance to the house. Camp Blue Diamond was the Marine base across the river to our east. We bounded up the stairs, untied boot laces whipping our bare shins. On the roof, we joined about twenty other Teamguys, most of us in PT shorts and bare chested, the unofficial uniform for middle-of-the-night, just-out-of-your-rack muj hunting. I saw an occasional T-shirt and had to stifle a chuckle when I noticed Guy, one of our officers, and his perfect uniform. A hodgepodge of support guys intermixed among us. When Marc said all hands, he had meant all hands. Everybody wanted to get his war on.

The muj had sent a sorry contingent of maritime fighters to attack the Marine base. Blue Diamond had alerted our tactical operations center (TOC), who in turn had coordinated the perfect L-shaped ambush. We stood poised, waiting for the green light from our base defense operations center on Camp Ramadi. Our mismatched uniforms and patchwork appearance belied our deadly potential. We stood, silently, vipers waiting to strike.

Somebody was going to have a bad night.

Guy was on my left. Marc Lee and Ryan Job fell in alongside him. JP was to my right. We were new to war, but our brotherhood spanned many generations and was forged by a proud warrior tradition. We were ready.

A few spots to my right, a support guy named Neal was armed to the teeth. I stifled another chuckle. His gear was an arsenal of grenades, M4 mags, and trinkets. He had no NVGs. I turned my attention back across the quiet river. My night vision infiltrated the darkness, and I could see movement. I pushed the safety off on my gun and turned on my infrared laser.

Then the command came.

Three, two, one. Execute.

Together, we unleashed hell on the river below and the unsuspecting muj lurking in its waters. It was euphoric. I methodically delivered 150 rounds in precise eight-to-ten-round bursts. The tracers screamed across the water. Some hit and stuck; others deflected and fizzled into the night. The intense energy of American ordnance and thunder of machine guns singing all around left no doubt in my mind: I was born for this.

I looked around me at every other man doing exactly the same thing and realized that this is how it had always been. Since the first man threw a rock, to when a man chucked a spear, to when another man aimed his rifle, it has come down to a man, his weapon, and the brothers who will fight with him. At that moment, everyone who mattered to me was on that rooftop. Nothing existed beyond Ramadi. These were the men who would bring me out alive, as I would them. I had literally nothing but my gun and my brothers. I hope it will always be like this.

I didn’t notice my scalding-hot shell casing ejecting toward JP’s exposed leg to my right. I didn’t care. When the abrupt call to cease fire finally came, my ears rang, my hands tingled, and the enemy was dead or dying. I felt alive.

Someone was yelling at Neal for firing six mags at the enemy with no night vision on. We called him Shadow Stalker for the rest of the deployment. A gunner’s mate tech asked sheepishly, “Hey, man, am I going to get my Combat Action Ribbon for this?”

“Sure, man,” I said, deciding to let him revel in his glory for a little while.

I checked my left flank. Guy, Marc, and Ryan had the familiar look of satisfaction that operating a powerful weapon delivers. JP cussed the burns on his left calf from my brass. I shrugged and took a deep breath. The smell of cordite from hundreds of spent rounds mixed with a breeze from the Euphrates’s ancient waters. I put my gun on safe and hit the pressure pad for the laser. I grabbed my gear and began the walk back to my tent, wondering how many similar opportunities I’d have like this over the next seven months. I didn’t want it to change me, or us—any of us. I didn’t think ahead to the future—where I’d be as a man or a husband or father a decade later. It didn’t matter at the time. I just needed to clean my gun. I was in Ramadi, and I’d be back in my rack before the flies found the meat we’d left for them in the reeds.

Later, I lay awake for only a moment before falling into a satisfied sleep, confident in the work I’d done with the others.

I hope it will always be like this.

About The Author

Anna Clark

Kevin Lacz left college and joined the US Navy following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He served with SEAL Team THREE as a sniper, breacher, and medic and did two combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received a Bronze Star with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals in addition to others for his service. Kevin served as a technical advisor and played himself in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film American Sniper. He lives in Florida with his wife Lindsey and their two children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Threshold Editions (July 2016)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501127243

Raves and Reviews

“There are few, if any, people in the world who knew Chris Kyle as well as Kevin "Dauber" Lacz. Many, like myself, knew some of Chris’s story; few, like Kevin, knew virtually all of it. 

This book is about the amazing true grit of SEAL Team THREE in some of the worst days of battle in the history of the US SEAL Teams and the United States. The epitome of the SEAL attitude of “never quit” runs through Kevin’s veins and this book’s pages. A must read.”

– Scott McEwen, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of American Sniper and the nationally bestselling Sniper Elite series of novels

“One of the very best books to come out of the war in Iraq. A natural sequel to American Sniper and a powerful, rapid-fire look into the world of an operator. An instant classic that will be of enormous value to future warriors, scholars, and anyone who cares about our military and our veterans.”

– Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, bestselling author of On Killing

"The Last Punisher takes you right onto the battlefield and into the heart of the action. A rare glimpse into the mind of a Navy SEAL—you won't be able to put it down."

– Clint Emerson, New York Times bestselling author of 100 Deadly Skills

"[Lacz's] pungent, plain-spoken account has lots of butt-kicking and some tears, and serves to remind civilian readers again that war is another world...an unapologetic tribute to the habits and attitudes of the professional warriors of SEAL Team THREE...a late but worthy arrival to the Navy SEAL memoir genre."

– City Journal

"Superb action-writing. The finest story of a SEAL team in combat: alternately violent, thoughtful, funny and raw. Always compelling, page after page. Bravo Zulu!"

– Bing West, New York Times bestselling author of No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah

“Kevin Lacz is an honest-to-God American hero. Serving with the elite Navy Seals, Kevin faced bullets and bombs to stop terrorists from coming toward us. In The Last Punisher, Kevin tells his story in a compelling and earthy way that brings the challenges of the soldier to every page. You might already love America, but you’ll love it more after reading this book."

– Mike Huckabee, 44th governor of Arkansas and #1 bestselling author of God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy

"The Last Punisher is both frightening and exhilarating. It puts you right in the middle of the action, as if you're next to Kevin during the events he describes. His account provides a deeper understanding of the service of our most heroic elite fighters."

– Willie Robertson, New York Times bestselling author of The Duck Commander Family

"The Last Punisher by Kevin Lacz will impact the generations living through the troubles in the Middle East in much the same way All Quiet On The Western Front did those living in the aftermath of World War I. This is an important book. Vivid in detail, cranked with action, and fueled by a love for his family, his country, and his fellow man."

– Andy Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift and The Noticer

"A remarkable tribute to the power of teamwork and a rare honest glimpse into a brotherhood where the stakes are life and death. The Last Punisher gives the reader an essential new understanding of what our American service members have endured during the War on Terror."

– John Rocker, retired Major League Baseball pitcher and director of public affairs for Save Homeless Veterans

An American hero’s engrossing and action-packed memoir of The Battle of Ramadi…a powerful narrative into the mindset of a sniper at war…does an outstanding job of illustrating the life of a Navy SEAL.”

– Don Mann, New York Times bestselling author of Inside Team Six: My Life

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