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Marine Corps' top general hospitalized

Feb. 29, 2012 - 06:31PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 29, 2012 - 06:31PM  |  
Marine Corps Gen. James Amos underwent back surgery Feb. 29.
Marine Corps Gen. James Amos underwent back surgery Feb. 29. (Sgt. Charles Mabry / Marine Corps)
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The Marine Corps' top general underwent back surgery Tuesday and is recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Marine Corps Times has learned.

Gen. Jim Amos is "doing well," said his spokesman, Lt. Col. Joe Plenzler, who declined to specify the details of the Marine commandant's surgery, citing privacy concerns.

"General Amos is in excellent health, and his doctors expect a full and speedy recovery," Plenzler said. "It is expected that he will return to his duties at the Pentagon soon."

Amos, who turned 65 years old in November, has maintained a busy schedule since becoming the commandant in October 2010. He travels frequently to Marine Corps facilities around the United States, and has spent considerable time visiting Marines in Afghanistan, most recently in early February.

Amos complained of sciatic nerve pain Feb. 16 during a brief interview with Marine Corps Times in Washington. He had appeared in Congress that day to discuss the Marine Corps' proposed budget and force reductions. It is unclear whether that pain prompted the need for surgery.

Such pain is caused when there is damage to or pressure on the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower spine and stretches down the back of each leg, according to the National Institutes of Health. Mostly affecting only one side, the pain can be severe enough to immobilize a person.

It's unclear when Amos will return to work, but Plenzler said the commandant is being kept apprised of Marine Corps business as he recovers.

Amos was scheduled to appear in Congress on Thursday and testify about the Marine Corps' proposed 2013 budget. The Marine Corps' assistant commandant, Gen. Joseph Dunford, will appear at the hearing instead.

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