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Fmr. Navy SEAL and Gov. Eric Greitens to reactivate and deploy to Middle East

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association 27th Annual Police Officer Memorial Prayer Breakfast on April 25, 2018, at the St. Charles Convention Center. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
May 23, 2019

Former Navy SEAL and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens will be deploying with the U.S. Navy this fall, according to a new report on Wednesday.

Sources told The Kansas City Star that Greitens has revealed to friends and supporters that he will deploy to the Middle East later this year, resuming his active duty Navy status, though not as a SEAL.

He has been on inactive status with the Navy’s Standby Reserve since 2017 when he was elected as governor. The status enabled him to keep his commission, but paused his pay, promotion eligibility and time served accruement toward retirement.

Greitens, 45, resigned as governor last year amid a scandal and charges stemming from an affair.

In April 2019, he applied to move to Selected Reserves, and that application was approved.

“His transfer was approved,” Lt. Cmdr. Jessica McNulty, Navy Recruiting Command Public Affairs, told The Kansas City Star. McNulty also confirmed that Greitens will be based out of the Navy Operational Support Center in St Louis.

Greitens will resume active status as an unrestricted line officer, though he will not perform the duties of a SEAL. The Navy did not provide further clarification of Greiten’s duties to The Kansas City Star.

Unrestricted line officers are able to command combat units aboard warships, submarines, aircraft squadrons and SEAL teams, according to the Navy.

Sources also told The Kansas City Star that Greitens is working on his fourth book, though Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher of Greiten’s three other books, said he was not under contract for a fourth book.

Greitens was arrested in February 2018 for felony invasion of privacy, a charge he called a “political hit job,” the Washington Examiner reported at the time. He was accused of “knowingly photograph[ing]” a nude or partially nude woman in 2015 without her consent and transmitting the image to a computer, then using it to blackmail her in an effort to conceal the affair they were having.

Greitens denied the allegations and asserted, “I made a personal mistake before I was Governor. I did not commit a crime.”

The charge was eventually dropped. But his resignation came as part of a deal to drop computer tampering charges over allegations that he illegally obtained a veterans charity donor list and used it for campaign fundraising.

Republican activist Robbie Brouk, who was a part of a private party during which Greitens announced his return to the Navy, told the Kansas City Star that Greitens has no plans to run for governor again, despite his supporters wanting him to run again.

“I do think that’s wishful thinking from people in Missouri,” Brouk said. “I think there’s just rumors all over that people wish he would run, and time will tell… Our election was stolen from us.”

A different activist who also attended a private meeting with Greitens said the former governor may have his sights set on U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat in 2022.