Marine Corps commandant in stable condition following medical emergency

A general nominated to be Assistant Commandant may be confirmed by the Senate this week along with leaders of the Navy and Air Force.
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Marine Gen. Eric Smith
Marine Corps Gen. Eric M. Smith salutes during a Relinquishment of Office ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2023. (Staff Sgt. Kelsey Dornfeld/U.S. Marine Corps)

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith was listed in stable condition on Tuesday following a medical emergency over the weekend, Corps officials have announced.

Smith was admitted to a local hospital on Oct. 29 after experiencing the emergency near the Home of the Commandants at Marine Corps Barracks Washington, a Corps news release says.

Marine Corps officials have not specified what type of medical emergency Smith is being treated for, but several media outlets reported that firefighters and other first responders treated a man for a possible cardiac arrest on Oct. 29 roughly one block from the Home of the Commandants.

Smith’s family has requested privacy as he continues to recover, the Marine Corps news release says.

The Senate confirmed Smith as commandant in September. He had been serving both as acting and assistant commandant since July 10 because Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has blocked senators from using a routine procedure to confirm military promotions en masse.

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Tuberville is continuing his hold on the promotions of more than 300 general and flag officers, including Marine Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney’s nomination as assistant Marine Corps commandant. 

He is forcing the Senate to vote on military promotions individually to protest the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing the travel costs of service members who need to travel out of state for reproductive care, including abortion.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is seeking to get the Senate to confirm Mahoney this week along with Navy Adm. Lisa Franchetti as chief of naval operations and Air Force Gen. David Allvin as Air Force chief of staff.

In the meantime, Marine Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl has assumed the duties of commandant.

“In typical Marine fashion, I am the next Marine up,” Heckl said in a statement on Tuesday. “This is what we do, as so many have done before us throughout the history of our Corps. We must continue the march forward on behalf of our fellow Marines and Nation, regardless of the situation or the uncertainty that we may face. That is what our Commandant wants, and what the citizens of our Nation require of each and every one of us.” 

“All orders remain in effect as we await General Smith’s recovery,” Heckl continued. “Stay the course!” 

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