Navy SEALs Split Over Members Flaunting Service to Cash in on Brand

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Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens is running for governor in Missouri and often flaunts his years as a SEAL in campaign speeches.

The Navy SEALs are conflicted over members flaunting their service to promote themselves in politics.
The New York Times reported:

Eric Greitens’s bid for governor of Missouri hinges on his experience as aNavy SEALs member, which he has chronicled in three books and promotes on his campaign web site, where he is pictured wearing his combat uniform, holding a rifle. “In the SEALs we learned, ‘there is no prize for second place in a gunfight,’ ” he said recently on Twitter.

Now Mr. Greitens, seeking the Republican nomination, finds himself in a battle with some former comrades, who charged in a slickly produced YouTube video that he exaggerated his record and was unduly benefiting from his time in the SEALs. The dispute lays bare a widening rift amongNavy SEALs, provoked by what leaders and many in the ranks describe as rampant commercial and personal exploitation of a brotherhood that once prized discretion.

In recent months, the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif., which oversees the elite force, has told its men to lower their profile and tried to rein in public appearances by active-duty members. The Pentagon imposed a rule last September restricting the appearance of service members in video games, movies and television shows. Current and former members have widely circulated a pointed critique — titled “Navy SEALs Gone Wild: Publicity, Fame, and the Loss of the Quiet Professional” — that laments the commercialization and warns that it is doing harm.

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