Eric Greitens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Eric Greitens
Eric Greitens.jpg
Personal details
Born Eric Robert Greitens
(1974-04-10) April 10, 1974 (age 42)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sheena Chestnut (m. 2011)
Children 2
Alma mater Duke University
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
Religion Judaism[1]
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 2001–present
Rank US Navy O4 insignia.svg Lieutenant Commander
Commands Joint Special Operations Task Unit
Mark V Special Operations Craft Detachment
Al Qaeda Targeting Cell
Awards Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
Joint Service Commendation ribbon.svg Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Commendation Medal
Us jointservachiev rib.svg Joint Service Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon
Outstanding Volunteer Service ribbon.svg Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal

Eric Robert Greitens (born April 10, 1974) is an American politician, author, humanitarian, former Navy SEAL, and the Republican nominee for Governor of Missouri.[2] Greitens is the Former President and founder of The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization for veterans.[3] In 2013, Time Magazine listed him on its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World,[4] and in 2014 Fortune Magazine listed him as one of the world's 50 greatest leaders.[5] In August 2016, Greitens won a four-way Republican primary, pitting him against Democratic Party's Chris Koster in the general election for Missouri governor.[6]


Greitens was born on April 10, 1974 in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Becky and Rob Greitens.[7]

Greitens attended Parkway North High School[8] and was named a member of the 1995 USA Today All-USA Academic Team. Greitens was an Angier B. Duke Scholar[9] at Duke University where he studied ethics, philosophy, and public policy. After graduating in 1996, he was selected as a Rhodes[10][11] and Truman Scholar.[12] Greitens attended Lady Margaret Hall, a constituent college of the University of Oxford, where he earned a D.Phil. in development studies in 2000.[13] Some of his photographs appear in the publication Children in War: Community Strategies for Healing.[14]

Greitens is a former Senior Fellow at the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri.[15] In the past, Greitens has taught classes at both the University of Missouri in Columbia and at Washington University in St. Louis.

Greitens married Sheena Elise Chestnut on August 7, 2011 in Spokane, Washington.[7] They live in St. Louis, Missouri, with their two sons.[16][17]


Armed Services[edit]

Greitens attended Naval Officer Candidate School in January 2001,[18][19] after graduating from Oxford. He began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)[20][21] and graduated with Class 237 in Coronado, California, in February 2002.[22] Greitens is currently a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy Reserve, and he was deployed four times to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Asia. He served as the commander of a joint special operations task unit, commander of a Mark V Special Operations Craft detachment,[23] and as commander of an al Qaeda targeting cell.[24] Some of his personal military awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

White House Fellowship[edit]

In 2005, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a White House Fellow.[25] As a White House Fellow, Greitens worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)[26] and developed a new program to assist with the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. The program, called the Universities Rebuilding America Partnership (URAP),[27] was a $5.6 million effort to engage architecture and engineering students in the continued effort to rebuild New Orleans. During his time as a White House Fellow, he also co-founded the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Program.[28]

The Mission Continues[edit]

After returning from Iraq, Greitens used his combat pay and the disability pay of two friends to start The Mission Continues. The mission of the organization is to "challenge veterans to serve and lead in communities across America."[29]

The Mission Continues encourages veterans to heal themselves through public service by engaging in volunteer organizations across the country.[30][31] In 2014 the organization won the CLASSY Award, recognizing its effectiveness in active-duty and veteran services.[32] Greitens stepped down as CEO in July 2014. He resigned the board of directors in 2015.[33][34][35][36][37]

As CEO of The Mission Continues, Greitens worked without a salary from 2007 to 2008. Later, Greitens received compensation of between $150,000 and $200,000. [38] This is considered by experts to be in line with non-profit CEO compensation around the country, with Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of CharityWatch (which evaluates nonprofit organizations) remarking that Greitens' wages "seem within a reasonable range."[39]


Greitens in 2011

Strength and Compassion is a collection of photographs and essays by Greitens. Published in 2008,[40] it is Greitens' first book, with a foreword by Rwandan humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina and an introduction by Bobby Muller, co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.[41]

Greitens' second book, The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL, was published on April 11, 2011, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.[42][43] The Heart and the Fist is Greitens' memoir of service, featuring stories of his humanitarian work, his training as a naval officer and SEAL and the military experiences that led him to adopt the paradoxical philosophy that you have to be strong to do good, but you also have to do good to be strong. Kirkus Review said of The Heart and the Fist: "Clear-eyed account of a youth devoted to service as a warrior and a humanitarian."[44] The book became a New York Times bestseller[45][46] and debuted on The St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance Best Sellers list at No. 1 for the week of April 17, 2011.[47] The following year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt also released a young adult edition of The Heart and the Fist titled The Warrior's Heart.[48]

In March 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released Greitens' book Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life. It draws on letters Greitens wrote to a fellow SEAL struggling with PTSD.[49][50]

As an author and former SEAL, Greitens is represented by the speakers’ bureau Leading Authorities. In 2016, an anonymous attack group charged in a YouTube video that he exaggerated his record and was unduly benefiting from his time in the SEALs; Greitens later debunked the claims in a video he uploaded to his channel. The dispute revealed a widening rift among Navy SEALs, provoked by what leaders and many in the ranks described as rampant commercial and personal exploitation of a brotherhood that once prized discretion. [51]


Gubernatorial election campaign logo

In 2010, he was courted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a Democrat against Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, but did not run.[52][53]

On September 26, 2015, Greitens officially announced his candidacy for Governor of the State of Missouri[54] as a Republican.[55]

Greitens won the August 2 Republican primary with 236,250 votes (34.6%), defeating businessman John Brunner's 169,425 (24.8%), Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder's 141,498 (20.7%), and former Speaker Catherine Hanaway's 136,350 (19.9%).[56] Greitens faces Democrat Chris Koster in the general election on November 8, 2016.

Honors & awards[edit]

In 2014, Fortune Magazine featured Greitens as one of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders.[57] On April 18, 2013, Time magazine named Greitens to its 2013 one hundred Most Influential People in the World.[4]

On May 20, 2012, Greitens was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Tufts University when he gave the commencement speech at the school's 156th commencement.[58] That same year, Greitens received the Bronfman Prize, which recognizes dynamic leaders whose innovation and impact serve as inspiration for the next generations.[59]

In June 2010, Major League Baseball and People Magazine announced Greitens as a winner in People Magazine's All-Stars Among Us competition. He was selected to represent the city of St. Louis and the Cardinals at the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, California.[60][61]

On October 3, 2008, President George W. Bush personally awarded Greitens the President's Volunteer Service Award outside Air Force One at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, for his work at The Mission Continues.[62]

Greitens is an accomplished marathon runner who has also won gold medals in taekwondo and boxing.[63] Greitens was honored with the HOOAH Award, commissioned by the Major George A. Smith Memorial Fund in 2009.[64] Greitens was named the 2010 Reader of the Year by Outside magazine.[65]

Greitens has appeared on NBC Nightly News,[66] the Today Show,[67] the Colbert Report,[68] and The Daily Show.[69]



  1. ^ "Meet Eric Greitens — a Navy SEAL, Rhodes Scholar and would-be governor of Missouri". 30 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Politically Speaking: Eric Greitens on his latest mission to become Missouri's next governor". St. Louis Public Radio. 
  3. ^ "Daily show hosts Missouri governor hopeful Eric Greitens". Riverfront Times. 
  4. ^ a b Mullen, Mike The 2013 TIME 100 TIME. February 18, 2015
  5. ^ "The Great Jewish Hope". Washington Free Beacon. 
  6. ^ "Eric Greitens wins Republican nomination for Missouri governor, will face Democrat Chris Koster". 
  7. ^ a b Sheena Chestnut, Eric Greitens, The New York Times, August 5, 2011
  8. ^ "Home of the Parkway Alumni Association". 
  9. ^ "". 
  10. ^ 32 Are Named Rhodes Scholars AP National Desk , Dec 11, 1995
  11. ^ "Oh, Four Oh Four". Archived from the original on March 6, 2011.
  12. ^ Meet Our Scholars, 1995 Truman Scholars Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Annual reports" (PDF). 
  14. ^ Children in War: Community Strategies for Healing (PDF).
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 24, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  16. ^ 2014 Convocation Lecture February 16, 2015
  17. ^ Hollerman, Joe STL's Eric Greitens steps down as veterans group chief St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 16, 2015
  18. ^ Greitens, Eric (2011). The Heart and the Fist. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-547-42485-9. 
  19. ^ Asfar, Roy (2011-04-01). "Eric Greitens | Veterans Advantage - Military Discounts, Veteran Discounts, Benefits". Veterans Advantage. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  20. ^ Greitens, Eric (2011). The Heart and the Fist. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. pp. 143–145. ISBN 978-0-547-42485-9. 
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  22. ^ Greitens, Eric (2011). The Heart and the Fist. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-547-42485-9. 
  23. ^ Greitens, Eric (2011). The Heart and the Fist. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-547-42485-9. 
  24. ^ Greitens, Eric (2011). The Heart and the Fist. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-547-42485-9. 
  25. ^ "White House Fellows: Class of 2005-2006" Online Article. The White House. 16 Jul 2008 <>.
  26. ^ Hinman, Kristen. "Captain America." Riverfront Times 09 APR 2008 10. 15 APR 2008 <>
  27. ^ "Volume 3 Number 5: Universities Rebuilding America." PD&R Periodicals: Research Works. 01 MAY 2006. PD&R Periodicals. 27 Apr 2008 <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2008.>.
  28. ^ [1] The Truman School of Public Affairs. February 20, 2015.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 28, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011. 
  30. ^ Klein, Joe Clay Hunt’s Legacy for Veterans TIME. February 16, 2015
  31. ^ Shane III, Leo Study: Volunteer work could help vets' careers Military Times. February 16, 2015
  32. ^ The Mission Continues Drives Progress for Active Duty & Veteran Services February 16, 2015
  33. ^ "Our Board - Mission Continues". 
  34. ^ "New Profit Inc. :: The Mission Continues". 
  35. ^ Draper Richards Fellow: Eric Greitens
  36. ^ Mission Continues Chief Executive Officer: Eric Greitens Archived May 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ Brennan, Vince The Mission Continues’ Greitens steps down St. Louis Business Journal. February 20, 2015
  38. ^
  39. ^ Missouri governor candidate's salary from charity questioned Associated Press. September 12, 2016
  40. ^ Strength and Compassion: Photographs and Essays by Eric Greitens. Sep 23, 2008. ISBN 0971007802. 
  41. ^ "" (PDF).  External link in |title= (help)
  42. ^ "Book Detail Page - HMH Books". 
  43. ^ "Spring 2011 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Adult Frontlist Catalog". 
  44. ^ Urban, Mark (2011-04-14). "THE HEART AND THE FIST by Eric Greitens | Kirkus". Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  45. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (May 13, 2011). "Inside the List". The New York Times. 
  46. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times. 
  47. ^ "St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance".
  48. ^ Powers, Kevin Acts of Valor "New York Times". February 18, 2015
  49. ^ Nelson, Marcia Spring 2015 Announcements: Lifestyle: Death and Dieting Publishers Weekly. February 16, 2015
  50. ^ Naughton, Julie Rising After a Fall: PW Talks with Eric Greitens Publishers Weekly. February 16, 2015
  51. ^
  52. ^ "Former DCCC Prospect Running as Republican in Missouri". At the Races. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  53. ^ Mannies, Jason Rosenbaum, Jo. "Politically Speaking: Former Gov. Holden talks about leading through tough times". Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  54. ^ "Former Navy SEAL Greitens running as Republican for Missouri governor". kansascity. 
  55. ^ Jo Mannies. "Greitens casts himself as a renegade as he joins GOP crowd running for governor". 
  56. ^ "Missouri Governor Races Results". 
  57. ^ Colvin, Geoff (2014-03-20). "Eric Greitens - Fortune ranks the World's 50 Greatest Leaders - FORTUNE". Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  58. ^ "A Meaningful Adventure." Tufts NOW. 20 May 2012. <>
  59. ^ 2012 | Eric Greitens The Bronfman Prize. February 16, 2015
  60. ^ "MLB, PEOPLE Magazine & Cardinals announce three finalists for "People All-Stars Among Us" national campaign." St. Louis Cardinals. 1 June 2010. <>
  61. ^ "People All-Stars Among Us." MLB. 20 June 2010. <>
  62. ^ "President Bush Honoring Local Veteran with Award" KSDK News Channel 5. 3 Oct 2007.<>.
  63. ^ Vespereny, Cynthia St. Louis Character: Eric Greitens St. Louis Business Journal. February 20, 2015
  64. ^ "Presentation of the HOOAH Award to Lt. Eric Greitens". NCoC. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  65. ^ Nyberg, Justin (2009-12-03). "Adventure Altruism All-Stars | Politics". Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
  66. ^ Brian Williams (2013-11-21). "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams - NBC News". MSNBC. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  67. ^ "TODAY Video Player - popup". Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  68. ^ "May 11, 2011 - Eric Greitens - The Colbert Report - Episode Details | Comedy Central". 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  69. ^ "Eric Greitens-The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - Video Clip | Comedy Central". Retrieved 2016-05-30. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Dave Spence
Republican nominee for Governor of Missouri
Most recent