Eric Greitens was born and raised in Missouri, where he was educated in the 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 from 1996 through 2000. There he earned a master’s degree in 1998 and a Ph.D. in 2000. 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. His military awards include the Navy Achievement Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star.
After returning from Iraq in 2007, Eric donated his combat pay to found The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit organization that challenges veterans to serve and lead in communities across America. As CEO, Eric has been recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in America. In 2012 Eric was awarded the Charles Bronfman Prize, recognizing his inspiring national and global leadership.
Eric is the author of The Heart & the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL, which relates Eric's story of leadership and service as a humanitarian and a warrior, and is a New York Times bestseller.