The Marine Corps’ top general is hospitalized after a medical emergency Sunday evening, the Corps said.

The brief statement from Marine Corps Headquarters Monday afternoon did not provide details about Marine Commander Gen. Eric Smith’s condition or specify the medical emergency.

Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, deputy commander for combat development and integration and commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, is serving as acting commander, according to the statement.

By law, the deputy commander is usually the person who takes over when a commander is unable to perform his or her official duties.

Because of Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama’s refusal to participate in unanimous approval of senior military nominations, there is no deputy commander, although the White House nominated Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney for the role in July. Tuberville has maintained that stance to protest the Pentagon’s policy of providing travel reimbursement and time off for troops who have abortions out of state, which he says is illegal.

Senators pushed through the nominations of a handful of senior military leaders, including Smith, by voting on them individually.

When Smith was both deputy commander and acting commander, he said he slept about five hours a night because of the demands of holding two top positions in the Marine Corps.

“Nobody should feel sorry for me,” Smith told reporters Sept. 6 at the Defense News Conference in Arlington, Va., in response to a question from Marine Corps Times about his schedule. “I make a lot of money and usually no one yells at me, so that’s good. But it’s not a sustainable thing if the last thing you do is turn off your computer at 11:30 p.m. and get up at 5 a.m..”

His workload has not decreased since his confirmation because there is no deputy commander, Smith told reporters Friday at the Military Reporters & Editors conference in Washington.

During the day on Sunday, Smith was in the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia.

On Monday afternoon, the Center for a New American Security announced it was postponing its event with Smith scheduled for Wednesday morning.

The Marine Corps said it would release more information about Smith’s condition “at a later date.”

Irene Loewenson is a reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editor in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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