Marine Commandant Gen. Eric Smith Stable, Recovering After Heart Attack

November 1, 2023 5:30 PM
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith, pay their respects during ceremonial colors at the 40th Beirut Memorial Observance Ceremony at Lejeune Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Oct. 23, 2023. US Marine Corps Photo

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith is in stable condition and recovering after experiencing a medical emergency earlier this week, the service said in a Wednesday news release.

“Gen. Eric M. Smith was admitted to a local Washington, D.C. hospital on Oct. 29, 2023, after suffering a medical condition near the Home of the Commandants at Marine Barracks Washington,” the Marine Corps said in the news release.
“He is currently listed in stable condition and is recovering in a leading hospital in our Nation’s capital. His family has requested privacy at this time, as Gen. Smith continues his recovery.”

Smith suffered an apparent heart attack on Sunday, two defense officials told USNI News earlier this week.

“Updates to his condition will be provided as appropriate. Visitors have been limited to his family at their request,” the statement reads.

Since Smith’s hospitalization, Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl has been performing the duties of commandant and assistant commandant in addition to his current job due to the current vacancy in the assistant commandant’s position.

On Friday, Smith told reporters he’d been doing both the commandant and assistant commandant jobs due to the vacancy. Smith served as the assistant commandant for two years before his confirmation last month.

Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney is up for a fourth star and was nominated to serve as the new ACMC, but his nomination had been stalled in the Senate due to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) hold vote on unanimous consent. Tuberville placed the hold in February over the Defense Department’s policy that reimburses service for out-of-state travel for reproductive care, including abortions, which Tuberville argues is illegal.

The hold on unanimous consent prevents the Senate from approving military nominations in large quantities. Nearly 400 general and flag officers are stalled in the upper chamber due to the hold.

Following Smith’s hospitalization, Tuberville wanted to move Mahoney’s nomination through, a Senate aide told USNI News this week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) filed cloture on the nominations of Mahoney, Adm. Lisa Franchetti to serve as the next chief of naval operations, and Gen. David Allvin to serve as the next chief of staff of the Air Force.

“The situation at the Marine Corps is precisely the kind of avoidable emergency that Senator Tuberville has provoked through his blanket holds,” Schumer said Tuesday.

Schumer had previously refused to take up the nominations individually with a voice vote.

On Wednesday evening, Republican senators led an effort to bring up the military nominations individually for a voice vote on unanimous consent. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) each brought up a slew of individual nominees, but Tuberville objected to every one.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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