Navy: Eric Greitens is no longer with the Navy Reserve or the Department of the Navy

In a fundraising video for his U.S. Senate campaign released Monday, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens held a pump-action shotgun and introduced himself as a Navy SEAL. The video then showed him joining a group of men in tactical gear who broke into an empty house to hunt members of his own political party.

But Greitens is no longer a Navy SEAL. He has also not been affiliated with the Navy Reserve or the Department of the Navy for more than a year, according to a Navy Reserve spokesperson.

Greitens resigned his commission in the Navy Reserve on May 1, 2021, just two months after he launched his campaign for U.S. Senate, according to officials at the Navy. He was an active member of the Navy Reserve for around two years.

Throughout his political career, Greitens has leaned on his credential as a former SEAL to propel himself to prominence. He created an image of the principled veteran — and despite some warnings from his fellow SEALs — penned three books and toured the speaking circuit giving talks about ethics and leadership.

But that curated image came crashing down amid a bevy of scandals during his brief tenure in the governor’s mansion. Allegations of sexual abuse and campaign finance violations forced him to resign June 1, 2018. He served less than half his term.

As he attempted to build himself back up after his resignation, Greitens asked to be reinstated into active duty in the Naval Reserve in January 2019. He had been moved to inactive status while he served as governor, which allowed him to retain his commission.

Initially, he met resistance. Neither the SEALs nor the Navy wanted him back.

It was only after Greitens received support from Vice President Mike Pence that Navy officials allowed him to return to military service in a reserve role. But he was denied the designation of SEAL when he returned as a general unrestricted line officer, a classification used for reservists who typically perform office duties and lack a warfare classification.

Dylan Johnson, a spokesman for Greitens, said it was “an honor of a lifetime” for Greitens to join the Navy and serve as a SEAL. He listed Greitens’ four deployments and his commendations, which include a purple heart, a bronze star and recognition for being the “single best line officer in the entire Navy Reserve.”

“After 20 years from his date of commission as an officer in the Navy, Governor Greitens’ had already announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate to serve the people of Missouri,” Johnson said.

It is unclear what role Greitens played while serving between 2019 and 2021. As late as May 2019, the Navy was still struggling with what role to assign him, according to a previous records request.

“He has alluded to VPOTUS throughout the process, but has been very cagey in all of his discussions with us,” Rear Adm. Brendan McLane’s executive assistant wrote to the command May 24, 2019. “I tried to draw him out on the subject a few weeks ago, but all he would say is that he wanted to affiliate with NOSC St. Louis and then be available to “be assigned to Washington D.C. for work with the National Security Council.”

The Navy’s decision to return him to active status sparked an investigation into how the Navy handles misconduct cases.