The Official Website of the State of Arkansas
Created by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1923, the Department of Veterans Affairs serves veterans and their eligible dependents through its statewide network of veteran service officers operates two state veteran cemeteries, and operates two state veteran homes.
MG (Ret) Kendall Penn was appointed as the 3rd Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs on 10 January 2023. He had previously served for over 34 years in the Arkansas National Guard, culminating as the Adjutant General, a position he held for 3 years.
Kendall’s military career began upon his enlistment in the Arkansas National Guard in May 1982 with Company B/212th Signal Battalion in Benton, Arkansas. He was later commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry upon graduating from the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. During his career, Kendall held every leadership position in Infantry formations from platoon leader to brigade commander, including command of 1st Battalion 153d Infantry and the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, both while deployed to Baghdad, Iraq.
Kendall’s awards include the Defense Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Senior Parachutist Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Ranger Tab.
Kendall received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. He is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Disabled Veterans of America, and the National Guard Association of Arkansas. He is married to the former Amy Dawson. They have 3 daughters: Julie, Becca, and Lois, and 4 grandchildren: Gus, Claire, Jed, and Roselyn.
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