Eric Greitens was born and raised in Missouri, where he was educated in public schools. He was an Angier B. Duke Scholar at Duke University, where he studied ethics, philosophy, and public policy. Selected as a Rhodes and a Truman Scholar, he attended the University of Oxford where he earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. His doctoral thesis, Children First, investigated how international humanitarian organizations can best serve war-affected children. He has worked as a humanitarian volunteer, documentary photographer, and researcher in Rwanda, Cambodia, Albania, Mexico, India, Bosnia, and Bolivia.
Eric also served as a United States Navy SEAL officer and deployed four times during the Global War on Terrorism to Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. He served as the Commander of a Mark V Special Operations Craft Detachment, Commander of a Joint Special Operations Task Unit, and Commander of an al Qaeda Targeting Cell. In 2005, he was appointed by the President to serve as a White House Fellow, and in 2011 the Association of the United States Navy named him the Navy Reserve Junior Line Officer of the Year. His military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star.
After returning from Iraq, Eric donated his combat pay to found The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit organization that challenges veterans to serve in communities across America. As CEO, Eric has been recognized as one of the most effective leaders in America. In 2013, TIME magazine named Eric to their list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and most recently Fortune magazine recognized him as one of the 50 greatest leaders in the world.
A photographer and writer, Eric is the author of three books. His first book, Strength & Compassion, was recognized as ForeWord Magazine’s Photography Book of the Year, and was the Grand Prize Winner of the New York Book Festival. Eric’s second book, The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL, was a New York Times Bestseller. His latest book, The Warrior’s Heart, was recognized as one of the Best Teen Books of 2012 by Barnes & Noble and Kirkus Reviews.
Eric teaches as a Senior Fellow at the Truman School of Public Affairs. His work has been covered by national media outlets including NPR, CNN, Fox, CBS, The Colbert Report, the TODAY Show, The Daily Show, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
Eric is a sub-3 hour marathon runner and the winner of the Shamrock Marathon at Camp Fallujah, Iraq. As a boxer, he won two Oxford Boxing Blues and the Gold Medal at the BUSA National Boxing Championships. He holds a Black Belt in Taekwondo. Eric currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife, Sheena.