Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith has been hospitalized after experiencing a “medical emergency” Sunday evening, the service has revealed.
The short Monday statement from the Marines didn’t offer details on Smith’s condition or specify the type of medical emergency.
Serving as the interim acting head is Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, the deputy commandant for combat development and integration and commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
“Additional information regarding the condition of Gen. Smith will be released at a later time,” the statement adds.
Typically, the Marine’s assistant commandant would be the one to step into the role, but no one is serving as assistant commandant due to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.), months-long block on military nominations.
The White House in July nominated Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney for the job, but he has been unable to start due to Tuberville’s objection over the Pentagon policy to reimburse travel expenses for service members seeking abortions out of state from where they are based.
Smith, who had taken on the duties of both assistant commandant and commandant, commented on the gap Friday at a Military Reporters and Editors event.
“I am still doing both of those jobs and using my staff as best I can to fill in where the assistant commandant would normally be full-time, because I simply can’t be in two places at once,” he said.
“I’m mindful that DOD-wide has 360 and growing flag and general officers who are not confirmed who need to be in their positions in the Middle East, in the Pacific, they need to be there,” Smith added, noting that the empty roles “does affect our readiness.”
Smith was last in public earlier on Sunday, when he attended the Marines Corps Marathon in Arlington, Va.