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, where he played baseball and soccer and got his first job while he was in elementary school. In 1992, he graduated from Parkway North High School in St. Louis.
Eric earned a scholarship to Duke University, where he took up boxing. In college, he also participated in humanitarian missions overseas, working with refugee and orphan children in Croatia and Bosnia, with Rwandan children and families who survived the genocide, and with children of the street in Bolivia. Eric earned a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University.
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 at an orphanage in Albania. He studied how leaders and communities can come together to help children and families in situations of extreme hardship, poverty, and war. At Oxford, Eric also became a champion boxer.
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 joined the United States Navy on January 20, 2001. After graduating from Officer Candidate School, Eric received orders to Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL Training (BUD/S), and reported for duty. He graduated with BUD/S class 237.
Eric served as a U.S. Navy SEAL on four deployments: in Afghanistan with a counter-terrorism US Special Operations Special Mission Unit, as the commander of a Mark V Special Operations Craft Detachment in Southeast Asia, and as the commander of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Manda Bay in the Horn of Africa. In 2005-06, he served as a White House Fellow under President George W. Bush, and in 2006, he deployed to Iraq for his fourth tour of duty, as the commander of an al-Qaeda targeting cell in Fallujah.
After his unit was hit by a suicide truck bomb, Eric returned home and founded The Mission Continues, which helps America’s veterans live lives of purpose, productivity, dignity and meaning here at home. In seven years as CEO, Eric built The Mission Continues into a nationally recognized veterans organization and won numerous awards for his service and leadership.
In 2011, Eric married his wife, Sheena. Today, they are the proud parents of two boys, Joshua and Jacob. Throughout his life, Eric Greitens has served and fought for others.
Upon taking the oath as Missouri’s 56th Governor, Eric begins a new mission: to change politics as usual and fight for more jobs, higher pay, safer streets, and better schools for all Missourians.