The top Marine general, who had been hospitalized since his cardiac arrest Oct. 29, is home and preparing for a procedure to fix an underlying heart condition.
Commandant Gen. Eric Smith, 58, was released from inpatient care Wednesday and is recovering “well ahead of schedule,” the Marine Corps said Thursday in a news release.
Smith is now preparing for a medical procedure to repair a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart, according to the release. The Corps didn’t specify when that procedure will take place or what it will entail.
A bicuspid aortic valve is a heart abnormality, present since birth, that commonly causes heart problems in middle age, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Doctors determined Smith’s aortic valve problem contributed to his medical episode, the news release stated.
While Smith recovers, Assistant Commandant Gen. Christopher Mahoney is performing the duties of commandant. The Senate confirmed Mahoney on Nov. 2 through a roll-call vote, pushing the nominees through despite a monthslong hold by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, on approving senior military nominees via the typical process of unanimous consent.
Since July, Smith had been performing the top job in the Marine Corps without a deputy, first as the acting commandant and then as the official commandant.
Smith has been in contact with Mahoney, the Marine Corps news release said. He has indicated he intends to return to the commandant job once he has recovered.
Smith said in the release that he and Mahoney “see eye to eye on the strategic direction of our Corps.” They share a focus on force modernization, day-to-day crisis response and taking care of personnel, according to Smith.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.