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911 caller asked for no lights, sirens for defense secretary's ambulance

911 caller asked for no lights, sirens for defense secretary's ambulance

ABC News has obtained a copy of the 911 call requesting an ambulance for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was transported from his Virginia home to Walter Reed Hospital after suffering complications from a surgery to treat prostate cancer.

In the call, placed on Jan. 1 and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, a federal employee working for Austin asks the operator for the ambulance to be discreet.

"Can I ask -- that the ambulance not show up with lights and sirens? We're trying to remain a little subtle," the employee said.

According to local law, ambulances are required to run sirens and lights on primary roads but on secondary roads aren't mandated to do so.

During the 911 call, made at 7:15 p.m. from Austin's home, he was described as awake, alert and oriented. An ambulance arrived seven minutes later at 7:22 p.m.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden, left, speaks to Lloyd Austin, secretary of defense, after delivering the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Feb. 7, 2023. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden, left, speaks to Lloyd Austin, secretary of defense, after delivering the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Feb. 7, 2023. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

MORE: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released from hospital

Austin, who underwent elective surgery on Dec. 22, but was hospitalized New Year's Day due to complications, was released from the hospital on Monday after a two-week stay.

The secretary and his department faced extensive criticism for their handling of his hospitalization -- keeping the nation in the dark about it for several days. Austin also did not immediately disclose the hospitalization to President Joe Biden, whose Republican rivals have used the lapse in judgment as ammunition against the White House.

PHOTO: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting, Nov. 22, 2023, at the Pentagon in Washington. (Cliff Owen/AP)
PHOTO: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting, Nov. 22, 2023, at the Pentagon in Washington. (Cliff Owen/AP)

MORE: Biden says Austin showed lapse in judgment regarding hospitalization

In a statement announcing Austin's release from the hospital, the Department of Defense said "The Secretary continues to recover well and, on the advice of doctors, will recuperate and perform his duties remotely for a period of time before returning full-time to the Pentagon."

"He has full access to required secure communications capabilities," it continued.

Austin, in his own statement, said he will continue to "recuperate and perform my duties from home" and looked forward to returning to the Pentagon as quickly as possible.

ABC News' Brittany Gaddy and Shannon K. Crawford contributed to this report.

911 caller asked for no lights, sirens for defense secretary's ambulance originally appeared on abcnews.go.com