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Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith underwent open-heart surgery

The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith underwent open-heart surgery on Monday and is expected to return to his full duties after his rehabilitation.

The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Eric Smith, underwent open-heart surgery on Monday to repair a valve in his heart, the Corps said. 

Smith, who was confirmed as the new commandant on Sept. 21, was initially hospitalized after suffering cardiac arrest near his home at Marine Barracks Washington on Oct. 29. 

“He is in good condition and continues to recover at the hospital among family members and his doctors,” the Corps said in a statement. “Following his rehabilitation, Gen. Smith will return to full duty status as Commandant.”


Smith’s surgery comes after news that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last week for complications following a recent elective medical procedure, which was not shared with the public for several days. Austin has since resumed his full duties.

TOP MARINE COMMANDER HOSPITALIZED AFTER SUFFERING HEART ATTACK

The surgery successfully repaired a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart, which was the cause of his cardiac arrest. 

Assistant commandant, Gen. Christopher Mahoney, has been serving as the acting head of the Marine Corps while Smith has been in the hospital.

Smith will return to his full duties as commandant following rehabilitation, a statement from the Marines said.

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The Defense Department said Austin’s hospitalization was not initially disclosed because of medical and personal privacy issues. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has filled in while on a previously scheduled leave.

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Several lawmakers, including Democrats and Republicans, have requested additional information on the medical operation and why various offices were not immediately notified about his absence. 

Republican presidential candidates have also weighed in on the controversy, with Nikki Haley suggesting President Biden should be held accountable.

Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and Liz Friden contributed to this report.

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