The commandant of the Marine Corps, who was hospitalized late last month after suffering a cardiac arrest, has been released from the hospital and is preparing for a procedure to repair a heart condition that doctors say directly contributed to the incident.
Gen. Eric Smith, the top Marine general, is recovering "well ahead of schedule," according to a press release from the Corps Thursday evening. He was released from inpatient care on Wednesday and is recovering at his home in Washington, D.C., a spokesperson told Military.com.
While Smith, 58, is awaiting a procedure to have a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart repaired, Assistant Commandant Gen. Christopher Mahoney is performing the duties of the commandant. Smith intends to return to duty once he recovers, though a timeline for that return has not been provided by the service.
"Gen. Mahoney and I see eye to eye on the strategic direction of our Corps, and we are fortunate to be surrounded by a Marine Corps family filled with America's finest leaders," Gen. Smith said in the Thursday evening statement. "We continue to focus on finding the right balance between modernizing through Force Design and our day-to-day crisis response mission, while also on taking care of our Marines and Sailors."
Smith suffered cardiac arrest on Oct. 29. Washington, D.C., Fire and Emergency Medical Services connected Smith's incident to reports of a man who collapsed during a run near the 8th and I Marine Barracks Washington, where the general resides.
Bystanders began CPR on Smith until emergency services took over and the general was transported to the hospital. According to Penn Medicine, a bicuspid aortic valve means that a heart has only two "flaps" to control the flow of blood instead of three. Bicuspid aortic valves can either leak or narrow, which could cause heart failure, according to the University of Pennsylvania's medical school.
Earlier this month, the Marine Corps announced that Smith would be transferring to an inpatient facility, meaning that he spent roughly a week in inpatient status before being released home.
The update did not specify when the procedure would occur or how soon Smith would be back, but he recently said in a released statement from the Corps that he looks "forward to getting back in the fight" as soon as he can.
"Gen. Smith and his wife, Trish, remain incredibly thankful for the continued outpouring of support from family, friends and colleagues," the press release said. "They appreciate everyone's continued respect for their privacy ahead of Gen. Smith's procedure and full recovery."
-- Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on X @df_lawrence.