MMA is proud to announce that LCDR Eric Greitens of St. Louis, a best-selling author, Navy SEAL and humanitarian, will be the 2016 recipient of the Gen. Clifton B. Cates “I Will Hold” Award for Leadership.
LCDR Eric Greitens, USNR, is a Navy SEAL and combat veteran who served four tours of duty overseas, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. After coming home, he founded The Mission Continues, a Missouri-based non-profit that helps returning veterans get back on their feet and give back to their communities. He has authored several best-selling books, including The Heart and the Fist, and Resilience. He is currently hoping to apply his leadership skills to Missouri government and has announced a bid for the Missouri governorship.
In 2014, Fortune Magazine named Greitens one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” Born and raised in Missouri, Greitens attended Missouri public schools, earned a scholarship to college, and went on to become a Rhodes Scholar. He has a black belt in Taekwondo, is a marathon runner and boxing champion.
“LCDR Greitens represents all that we teach here at MMA, and what we try to inspire out of our boys through a 360 Degree Education,” said MMA President Tony McGeorge. “His message of selfless leadership, service, and the pursuit of physical health and academic excellence will resonate with our young men.”
The award is named for Gen. Clifton B. Cates, who attended MMA and graduated in 1910. Cates was an honor student and four-letter athlete. As a college student at the University of Tennessee, he joined the United States Marine Corps during World War I. Cates led a distinguished military career, serving through several major conflicts, including World War I, World War II and the Korean War. He eventually became the 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps and is well known as the man who fought Congress to save the U.S. Marine Corps from possible extinction in 1951, paving the way for the USMC’s growth and prosperity.
One of his most honorable moments, came earlier in his career, during World War I. In July 1918, Cates was in France leading a platoon within the 96th Company, when it was attacked -killing most of the company, including the commander. Cates took over temporary command, and while wounded in the leg and shoulder, he scribbled a note to the Battalion Commander, which read: “I have only two men left out of my company and 20 out of other companies. We need support but it is almost suicidal to try to get here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant artillery barrage is upon us. I have no one on my left, and only a few on my right. I will hold.”
The Gen. Clifton B. Cates, class of 1910 “I Will Hold” Award was established in 2014 in commemoration of the Academy’s 125th anniversary. Two-time governor and four-time United States Senator Christopher S. “Kit” Bond was the 2015 recipient, and Gary Pinkel, former head coach of the University of Missouri Tiger football team was the inaugural honoree in 2014.
The award is annually presented at MMA’s annual Maroon and Gold gala in St. Louis. This year’s event will be held on April 2 in the Khorassan Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza. Cadets, parents, alumni and friends of the Academy are invited to attend. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour, and dinner will be held at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.missourimilitaryacademy.org.