Gen. Eric M. Smith, the Marine Corps’s commandant and top officer, was hospitalized on Sunday evening after an unspecified medical emergency, the service said on Monday.
The Marines announced General Smith’s hospitalization in an email to reporters but provided no further details about his condition. One current and one former defense official familiar with his condition said he apparently had a heart attack while jogging.
The episode happened approximately one block from Marine Barracks Washington, where he has his official residence, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. The Marine base is commonly referred to by its location at Eighth and I Streets in Southeast Washington.
Reached by phone, Maj. Jim Stenger, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, said that in keeping with the family’s wishes and medical privacy laws, no additional information would yet be released.
A spokesman for the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department was unable to confirm or comment on the identity of a man who was treated nearby late Sunday afternoon.
“I can confirm that D.C. Fire and E.M.S. responded to reports of cardiac arrest in the vicinity of G Street and Seventh Street SE at 4:58 p.m. yesterday,” Noah Gray, chief of communications for the department, said in an interview.
“Witnesses said that they saw an adult male running, then walk down the street and stumble, falling face-first on the sidewalk,” Mr. Gray added. “At that time they called 911 and started chest compressions. Our crews arrived and provided CPR and transported the patient to a nearby hospital.”
General Smith, 58, is one of only three generals who have been confirmed for new positions since mid-February because of a blockade by Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama. Mr. Tuberville is holding up the promotions of senior military officers in protest of a Pentagon policy that ensures that military personnel can obtain abortions after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
General Smith was confirmed to the position by the Senate on Sept. 21. He took office the next day after being sworn in by the Navy secretary, Carlos Del Toro.
But General Smith’s hospitalization came as the service’s No. 2 position has been left unfilled by Mr. Tuberville’s hold.
Lt. Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney, the service’s deputy commandant for programs and resources in Washington, was nominated as the assistant commandant on Aug. 13, but his promotion to four-star rank has been stalled.
With General Smith hospitalized, the service said in a statement that in accordance with federal law, Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, the senior officer assigned to Marine Corps headquarters, is performing the duties of commandant in the interim.
David A. Fahrenthold contributed reporting.