Eric Greitens is a husband and father who believes that with the right leadership from outside of the political establishment, Missouri’s best days are yet to come. As a conservative outsider and former Navy SEAL, Eric is on a mission to turn Missouri around.
A combat veteran and Navy SEAL, Eric served four tours of duty overseas, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. After coming home, he founded The Mission Continues, a Missouri-based non-profit that helps returning veterans get back on their feet and give back to their communities. In 2014, Fortune Magazine named Eric one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”
Eric was born and raised in Missouri. His mom, Becky, was an early childhood special education teacher and his dad, Rob, worked for the Department of Agriculture. He grew up with two younger brothers, Marc and Aaron.
Eric attended Missouri public schools. He loved playing baseball and soccer and running, and got his first job when he was in elementary school. In 1992, Eric graduated from Parkway North High School.
Eric earned a scholarship to Duke University, where he took up boxing. He also took his first overseas trip to China, where he studied kung fu and taught English to students who had protested at Tiananmen Square.
In college, Eric also participated in humanitarian missions overseas. He worked with orphaned children in Bosnia, with Rwandan children and families who survived the genocide, and with children of the street in Bolivia.
Eric earned a scholarship to Oxford University. There he continued to work overseas with children and families in hardship, including in one of Mother Teresa’s homes for the destitute and dying in India and an orphanage in Albania. He wrote his dissertation about how leaders and communities can come together to help children and families in situations of extreme hardship, poverty, and war.
Eric was also a champion boxer: a two-time Oxford Blue and a gold medalist at the BUSA National Boxing Championships.
Both of Eric’s grandfathers served in the military in World War II. Inspired by them, and with a desire to serve his country, Eric entered the Navy on January 20, 2001. After graduating from Officer Candidate School, Eric received orders to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training (the basic SEAL training often referred to as BUD/S), and reported for duty.
On September 11th, 2001, Eric was in training during the terrorist attacks on the United States. He was in BUD/S Class 237, the first class that would go through every phase of training knowing that they were going to fight for America in the war against terrorism.
Eric served in Afghanistan with a counterterrorism US Special Operations Special Mission Unit.
Eric led 20 men and served as the commander of a Mark V Special Operations Craft Detachment in Southeast Asia.
Eric served as the commander of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Manda Bay. He led 35 men in a Joint Special Operations Task Unit in the Horn of Africa.
President George W. Bush selected Eric to serve as a White House Fellow, where he assisted with the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Eric deployed for his fourth tour of duty in the Global War on Terrorism. As a Navy SEAL serving in Fallujah, Eric served as the commander of an Al-Qaeda Targeting Cell. His team was responsible for going after mid- to senior-level Al-Qaeda leaders.
While serving in Iraq, Eric’s team was hit by a suicide truck bomb. He was able to return to full duty 72 hours later, but many of his friends were hurt far worse than he was.
When Eric returned home, he visited with his wounded friends and went to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Inspired by the courage of his fellow veterans, he donated his combat pay to found The Mission Continues, so that he could help his fellow veterans live lives of purpose, productivity, dignity, and meaning here at home.
Eric received the Combat Action Ribbon, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.
Eric continued his military service in the reserves at Special Operations Command.
President Bush personally presented Eric with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his inspiring national leadership working with wounded and disabled veterans.
Eric builds The Mission Continues into one of the nation’s leading organizations to help veterans. Major League Baseball names him an “All-Star Among Us.”
Eric continued to build The Mission Continues into one of the nation’s leading organizations, helping veterans to start their own businesses, find quality jobs, and serve their communities.
On August 7, 2011, Eric married his wife, Sheena.
Ten years into his service in the US Navy, Lieutenant Commander Greitens was selected by the Association of the United States Navy as the Navy Reserve Officer of the Year.
In recognition of his contributions to this generation of veterans, in 2013, TIME Magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
In July of 2014, Eric and Sheena welcomed their first son, Joshua.
In 2014, Fortune Magazine named Eric as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
On September 26, 2015, Eric announced his campaign for Governor of Missouri.
In June of 2016, Eric and Sheena welcomed their second son, Jacob.