General Eric Smith, Acting Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

General Eric Smith

Acting Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

Eric M. Smith was born in 1964 in Kansas City, Missouri. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, during which he was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, through which he entered the Marine Corps. He attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.  

He was a rifle platoon commander in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He served in the 1st Marine Division and had several deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He served in the Pentagon as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Later, Smith participated in Operation Assured Response in Liberia. 

In 2021, he was promoted to four-star general and was assigned as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. In June 2023, he became Acting Commandant while his nomination as Commandant awaits confirmation by the Senate. 

In the News…

Acting Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Eric Smith, ordered a thorough review of the branch’s processes after three Marines were killed and 20 injured at a crash of an Osprey tiltrotor craft on Melville Island, Australia, last month. He said the review is “to confirm that our culture of safety is still strong.“  

“Caring for the families of any Marine lost in a training mishap is our primary concern, and we can never offer them all that they deserve as they deal with the loss of their loved one,” General Smith wrote. “I believe they may take comfort knowing that every possible measure has been taken to prevent a future mishap. Safety is a key element of our warrior culture. When we lose Marines we are not only heartbroken, but we are also less ready for combat.” 

General Smith directed a unit-level review of the Corps’ safety culture, in which each unit was “to discuss, in detail, the elements of what it means to be a professional warfighting organization as it relates to the safe conduct of every event from training to combat.” He wants reports completed by September 15. 


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