Gov. Greitens: Missouri National Guard troops to train with Israelis

Eric Greitens (Courtesy of Rubenstein Public Relations)

By Eric Berger, Staff Writer

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced Feb. 8 that members of the Missouri National Guard would train with the Israeli Home Front Command. 

Greitens made the announcement two days before he spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference in Las Vegas.

He stated in a news release that Missouri would be one of four states — along with Colorado, Illinois and Massachusetts — to participate in the training with the command, a branch of the Israel Defense Forces that focuses on civilian protection during a war or crisis. 

The National Guard Bureau, a federal agency, will fund the training, which will begin in the coming months, according to Greitens’ spokesperson. 

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“Missouri stands with Israel. It was a Missouri president, Harry Truman, who first recognized the State of Israel,” Greitens, who is Jewish, stated. “Today I’m proud to announce that Missouri National Guard troops and Israeli Home Front Command troops will literally be standing and training side by side.”

There had been uncertainty as to whether the governor would speak at the conference following revelations last month that he had an affair, along with allegations that he had blackmailed the woman involved in the tryst. Greitens has admitted the affair but denies the blackmail allegations.

The executive director of the RJC had described the governor as “family.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time,” Matt Brooks, executive director of the organization, stated in a news release after news of the affair emerged. On whether Greitens would attend the convention, Brooks said at the time “that is a decision that he and his wife will have to make.”

Politico reported that Greitens addressed the convention on Saturday morning and that he did not mention the recent controversy. Other speakers included House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Greitens stated that the National Guard partnership stemmed from his November visit to Israel as part of a trade mission sponsored by the RJC and the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit that supports economic development in Missouri.

The Indiana National Guard has trained with the Home Front Command for six years, alternating locations for the drills between the state and Israel, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

“The benefit for us is we get to play with the pro team,” Lt. Col. Greg Motz of the Indiana National Guard told the Tribune in 2017.