By Drew Sheets

Eric Greitens is a good man who helped me at a hard time in my life.

Eric and I served in the Navy SEAL teams together. We went through BUD/S training together. He was one of the best officers I ever worked with, and when I was in a hard way—suffering from some of the after-effects of my service—he reached out to me. Then he wrote me long letters about how to get through what I was going through. He’d call me, check in, and make sure I had what I needed. When I was down and out he got me up and in.

It was an extraordinary act of friendship, and I haven’t forgotten it, ever. With my permission and encouragement, he wrote about our exchange in a book called ‘Resilience‘. At the time, we changed my name to protect my privacy, but I’ve come forward in the past, and am coming forward now, because this good man is under attack.

I don’t need to go into the particulars of the case. You can read all that for yourself. But the basic gist is that a few years ago, Eric made a personal mistake. Eric dealt with his mistake, and his wife and family forgave him for it. Everybody moved on.

Now, his political enemies are trying to turn that mistake into a crime. They want to take advantage of a difficult private family matter and smear him using the legal system as a weapon. The whole thing feels like a prosecution out of a banana republic, not the United States of America.

I’m not a lawyer, but what I am is someone who knows the heart of this good and decent and strong American patriot. Even before the SEAL teams, Eric had spent a lifetime in service to others. As a kid, he was the guy who was volunteering for his community; as a young adult, he went overseas and worked with kids who themselves were in a hard way: victims of landmines, refugees, orphans.

You don’t do work like that without it leaving an imprint on your character. And I can say—without reservation or hesitation—that Eric Greitens is a man of character. Once he left school, the guy could have done basically anything he wanted. He was a Rhodes Scholar. He had plenty of job offers. Instead, he decided to give up money and comfort and join the Navy SEAL teams. He could have had an easy life. He chose to do the hardest military training in the world and serve his country in multiple combat deployments overseas.

Now his political opponents have given him another hard test, only this time they are using the criminal justice system to go after him. And for what reason? As far as I can tell, Eric’s done what he’s always done: the right thing under hard circumstances. He’s made some tough calls as Governor and taken on special interests, and because of that, they’re coming after him. It’s no coincidence that the prosecutor attacking him is from the other party. It’s no coincidence that this whole mess comes after a year he spent trying to reform politics as usual in Missouri.

I have a message for the people who have dredged all this up and are using it to attack Eric: this man has a spine of steel. If you think he’ll bend or fold or cower, you got another thing coming. Oh—and he has friends like me. We’ll stand up for him, and we believe in him.

I’m standing up for him right now because this is a good American. The system is trying to break him, and I’m not going to let that happen without speaking up. I urge anyone who believes that strong patriots should be running our states and our country to do the same.

Featured Image Courtesy of Missouri National Guard, photo by SSG Patrick P. Evenson via Wikimedia.