Top Marine General Hospitalized after Heart Attack While Jogging

A top Marine Corps general has been hospitalized after suffering an apparent heart attack while out jogging.

58-year-old Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith was hospitalized on Sunday evening, two defense officials confirmed to USNI News.

The Marine Corps has not provided any additional details on Smith’s condition.

According to a statement from the service, Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl is now performing the duties of Marine commandant.

The service said in a Monday statement that “additional information regarding the condition of General Smith will be released at a later time.”

Smith was last seen in public on Sunday afternoon greeting runners at the finish line for the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Va.

He appeared at the marathon just hours before his sudden collapse.

He did not participate but was pictured motivating runners from the sidelines.

General Smith was running close to Marine Barracks Washington when the medical emergency occurred.

A spokesperson for the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department told The New York Times that witnesses saw Smith “stumble” and then “fall face-first on the sidewalk.”

Emergency services responded to the scene, performed chest compressions on Smith, and then rushed him to a local hospital.

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The Washington Post suggested that “warm weather” may have triggered the top military official’s heart attack.

The Post reported that it was “unseasonably warm” in the nation’s capital, with temperatures up over 80 degrees.

Smith, a career infantry officer, has commanded at every level, serving multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, including time in Fallujah and Ramadi during heavy combat in 2004 and 2005 in Operation Iraq Freedom.

He later was the senior military adviser to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and in 2019 took over as the deputy commandant for combat development.

In that post, Smith worked with his predecessor General David Berger on a broad campaign to transform the Marine Corps to better be able to fight amphibious wars in the Pacific after years of battling terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The plan was lauded by many in the Pentagon and Congress as a critical way for the Marines to prepare for a potential conflict with China.

Smith was promoted to four-star general in 2021.

He took over as assistant commandant, where he focused on recruiting, retention, and managing the development of Marine forces.

READ MORE: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Deaths Spiked in 2021, Hospital Data Shows

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