Category Archives: Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens – Jewish Navy SEAL

Today’s Jewish Marksman is Navy SEAL Eric Greitens.  (Unlike Green Beret Lawrence “Super Jew” Freedman who was known for exceptional marksmanship, we’re just going to have to trust that as a special forces soldier, Eric can shoot well.  He does mention having extensive firearms training, as one would expect of a SEAL)  I just finished reading his auto-biography, “The Heart and the Fist.”

As a college kid, Eric boxed as a hobby and spent time on humanitarian aid missions to the Balkans, Africa and Central America.  A Rhodes scholar, he left the snobbish Ivy league world and signed up for the Navy, ultimately becoming an officer in the SEALs.  He served in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kenya.

Eric has received many awards for his work with veterans, encouraging them to continue to serve society after they leave the military.  Among those awards was the 2012 Charles Bronfman Prize:

Accepting the Prize, Greitens cited his Jewish upbringing, and lessons learned in Sunday school – in particular, meeting Holocaust survivors who taught him lessons about the strength of the human spirit.

“What sunk in was more than the idea of ‘Never Again,’” he said. “It was the idea that even in horrific situations, people can choose courage and dignity.  People can survive.  They can move through tragedy, possibly stronger, to live full lives.

“Had it not been for that lesson, I don’t think that I would have chosen to go to work with refugees.  And had I not done that, it’s unlikely that I would be standing here today.  It was my experience in Bosnia and Rwanda, where people told me that they were grateful for the aid they received, but that they needed to be protected, that convinced me that there had to be a way to live a life both compassionate and courageous, to be both good and strong.”

I thought the book was a good read, it is not really a “war story” book as much as a message about his views on humanitarianism, and how they developed in his life.  I think he wanted to get across the message to the academic left that good intentions are sometimes not enough, and to the hawkish right that bullets are sometimes not enough.  He also doesn’t hide his criticism for some of the mistakes the US is making in the fight against terror.  It seems to me that Greitens suggests that while it’s great to have the best direct action commando forces in the world, we might be losing our edge in the special forces role that American Jews like Sid Shachnow worked so hard to establish and nurture with the Green Berets, i.e. really embedding, training and working with local forces so that locals can handle it themselves.  To oversimplify the matter somewhat, I think both men would suggest we still need to be more like the heroes in the movie “The Magnificent Seven” (based on Kirosawa’s “Seven Samurai”) and less like the Lone Ranger.

Well in any case, be sure to examine Eric’s organization The Mission Continues and consider providing him assistance.