KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ request to return to active duty with the Navy has been approved, but he will not serve again as an elite Navy SEAL.
Greitens will be assigned to the Navy Operational Support Center in St. Louis as a general unrestricted line officer, which usually involves performing office jobs, Navy Personnel Command spokeswoman Cmdr. Karin Burzynski said.
Greitens, 45, resigned as governor in June 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct and campaign finance violations. He made his former status as a Navy SEAL a cornerstone of his gubernatorial campaign and tenure as governor.
The news that Greitens is returning to the Navy was criticized by some who said it sent the wrong message while the military is grappling with an increase in sexual assaults, The Kansas City Star reported.
Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who has pushed Congress to combat sexual assault in the military, said it is “beyond pathetic” that the Navy would even consider allowing Greitens to return to active service.
"He should be court-martialed," said Speier, who is chairwoman of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee. "Retaining him sends a horrible signal about what the Navy values and its unwillingness to hold officers accountable."
A spokesman for the Navy Reserve said the Navy is committed to addressing sexual misconduct.
"Sexual assault and sexual harassment are toxic threats that harm us all. Sexual assault and harassment are not tolerated in the Navy," said Capt. Christopher Scholl.
Greitens, who has not commented to the media since his resignation, was put on inactive status with the Standby Reserve in 2017.
He applied for a transfer to selected reserves in April 2019 and late Wednesday the Navy confirmed he was approved to return to active status.
However, during any reactivation process to the Navy Selected Reserves, each community the applicant applies to or could potentially return — such as, in Greitens' case, the Special Warfare community — conducts its own review.
In Greitens’ case, the Special Warfare community determined that he would not be able to return, an official said. The Navy didn’t provide a reason for that decision.