Eric Greitens: From Navy SEAL to Political Controversy


Eric Greitens is a name that resonates with both admiration and controversy. His journey from a decorated Navy SEAL to a political figure has been marked by significant achievements and numerous scandals. This article delves into the multifaceted life of Eric Greitens, exploring his military career, political ambitions, and the controversies that have shaped his public persona.

Early Life and Education

Eric Robert Greitens was born on April 10, 1974, in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Parkway North High School, where he excelled academically and athletically. His passion for public service and leadership was evident early on, leading him to Duke University. At Duke, Greitens earned a degree in ethics, philosophy, and public policy, graduating summa cum laude in 1996. His academic journey continued as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he obtained a D.Phil. in Development Studies.

Military Career: A Decorated Navy SEAL

Greitens’ military career is one of distinguished service. After completing his education, he joined the United States Navy and underwent SEAL training, graduating from BUD/S Class 237. His service as a Navy SEAL took him to some of the most challenging environments, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Greitens’ bravery and leadership earned him several awards, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. His experiences in the field not only demonstrated his commitment to his country but also shaped his perspective on leadership and resilience.

Transition to Public Service and Philanthropy

After leaving active duty, Eric Greitens founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping veterans transition to civilian life. The organization provides fellowships and community service opportunities for veterans, harnessing their skills and leadership for public good. This initiative earned Greitens recognition as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.

Entering the Political Arena

Greitens’ foray into politics began with his campaign for Governor of Missouri in 2015. Running as a Republican, he positioned himself as an outsider and reformer, focusing on issues such as ethics reform, job creation, and government accountability. His military background and philanthropic work bolstered his image, leading to a successful campaign. In 2016, Eric Greitens was elected the 56th Governor of Missouri.

Achievements as Governor

During his tenure, Greitens implemented several key initiatives. He prioritized job creation, signing legislation aimed at reducing regulations and fostering a business-friendly environment. Greitens also focused on education reform, advocating for increased funding for charter schools and educational choice for parents.

One of his notable achievements was the passage of a comprehensive ethics reform bill. The legislation sought to address corruption and increase transparency in government, aligning with Greitens’ campaign promises.

The Fall from Grace: Scandals and Resignation

Despite his early successes, Greitens’ political career was marred by scandal. In January 2018, he was accused of having an extramarital affair and allegedly blackmailing the woman involved with a compromising photograph. The accusations led to a felony invasion of privacy charge, which was later dropped due to insufficient evidence. However, the scandal had already taken a toll on his reputation.

Further investigations uncovered allegations of misuse of a charity donor list for political fundraising, leading to another felony charge of computer tampering. The mounting legal issues and political pressure culminated in Greitens’ resignation from the governorship on June 1, 2018.

Life After Politics

Following his resignation, Greitens largely retreated from the public eye. He focused on rebuilding his personal and professional life, maintaining his innocence and framing the accusations as politically motivated attacks. Despite the controversies, Greitens continued to have supporters who admired his military service and philanthropic efforts.

In 2021, Greitens announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, aiming to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Roy Blunt. His decision to re-enter politics was met with mixed reactions, reflecting the polarized views on his legacy. Supporters praised his resilience and leadership, while critics questioned his integrity and suitability for public office.

Legacy and Impact

Eric Greitens’ story is a complex one, marked by both commendable service and contentious controversies. His military career and philanthropic efforts demonstrate a commitment to service and leadership, while his political career highlights the challenges and pitfalls of public life. Greitens’ journey underscores the interplay between personal conduct and public perception, offering lessons on the importance of integrity and accountability in leadership.


Eric Greitens’ transition from a Navy SEAL to a political figure encapsulates the highs and lows of public life. His achievements in the military and philanthropy are laudable, showcasing his dedication to service. However, the scandals that plagued his political career serve as a cautionary tale about the scrutiny and challenges faced by public figures. As Greitens continues to navigate his path in the political arena, his story remains a testament to the complexities of leadership and the enduring impact of personal actions on public perception.

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