Kevin Pannell is a native of Dierks, Arkansas. He joined the Arkansas Army National Guard at the age of seventeen. Serving with the 153rd Infantry, Kevin supported relief efforts resulting from natural disasters within Arkansas before being deployed to Kuwait in 1999-2000 on Operation Southern Watch to Kuwait. In 2003, his unit was activated in support of the 1st Cavalry Division based at Ft. Hood Texas for their deployment to combat operations in Iraq. Kevin deployed to Iraq in the spring of 2004 as an Infantry soldier in C Company, 153rd Infantry, which was attached to 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry in Baghdad.
On June 13th, 2004 while on patrol with his squad, Kevin was severely wounded in an ambush when two grenades exploded at his feet. Through the heroic efforts of the men of C Company, Kevin was given life-saving first aid and evacuated. He recovered from his critical condition but lost both legs as a result of his wounds. His story of perseverance and sacrifice has been one of inspiration, from his rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center, to the promise he kept to meet his brothers from C Company at the plane when they returned from Iraq. Today, his selfless efforts to mentor and counsel struggling amputees returning from war sets an example of courage, patriotism, commitment and sacrifice.
Kevin now resides in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he works to advocate the rights of disabled people and also as a spokesman for First Person Incorporated, a group of severely injured Iraqi war veterans who strive to educate the American public through personal accounts of the war on terror. Kevin has appeared on FOX News, Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN, HBO’s Inside the NFL as well as numerous magazines and radio programs including Popular Mechanics and In Motion.