August 10th, 2012
08:03 PM ET

Army general is military's first openly gay flag officer

The U.S. military has its first openly gay flag officer with the promotion of Tammy Smith to the rank of Army brigadier general on Friday.

Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith

Smith received her stars in a private ceremony at the Women's Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, according to a press release from the Service Members Legal Defense Network, an organization promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the U.S. military.

Friday was also the first day she publicly acknowledged her sexuality, according to a report from Stars and Stripes, and that acknowledgement comes less than a year after the military ended the "don't ask, don't tell" policy under which an active-duty service member faced punishment or discharge if he or she admitted being homosexual.

“I don’t think I need to be focused on that," Stripes quoted Smith as saying. "What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”

Smith is serving as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve in Washington. She is a 26-year veteran of the Army and has served in Afghanistan, Panama and Costa Rica as well as stateside assignments.

“It is indeed a new era in America’s military when our most accomplished leaders are able to recognize who they are and serve the country they love at the same time," Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement.

Smith's spouse is Tracey Hepner, director of operations for the Military Partners and Families Coaliton, an advocacy and support organization for LGBT members of the military.

Hepner presented Smith with her stars at Friday's ceremony.

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Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell • Gay and lesbian • Military • U.S. Army
soundoff (748 Responses)
  1. Karen

    Congratulations Ms. Smith!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PushingBack

    Congratulations General Smith!! (Saluting)

    August 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The Boss

    Sick and pathetic- the rainbow brigade

    August 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDXGUY



      You are

      August 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • TXJew

      Hate the Rainbow Division, too? Gay Americans have been fighting for the country since....before anyone gave you a computer to blurt inanities.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Yes, you are sick and pathetic. She's has done and is doing way more for this country than you have.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Cox

      You should be thanking her for being part of the system that protects your freedom to be a bigot.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Oh please. This woman has probably accomplished ten times what you have.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      You can get help. Now that you've admitted your problem, help is available.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johdar

      Just remember that one of the best strategists for General Washington was openly gay. Why would Washington accept a gay man? Maybe because he didn't care, the man got the job done and we won the war. Why can't people be the same way today?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John George

    Congrats on the promotion, but is being gay really a reason for the story? Obviously she was gay her whole career and got promoted many times.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smeagel4T

      Under DADT.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grant23

      The first openly gay General in the Army. Not the first closeted person that might be gay but we dont know for sure because it would be illegal to say so General. THAT... makes it a story.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |

    Aren't gay women supposed to be referred to as Lesbians ? All the same it's still disgusting.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |

      Shame on you for being disgusted! You are disgusting!

      August 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smeagel4T

      Does not adhering to the strict labels you want to use make it more difficult for you to be a bigot?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Why should anyone else care what you find disgusting?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bigboxes

    As a former military man let me extend a salute. Congrats!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. punkman

    The military has always been fantastic at promotion not based on performance but minority status.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ichorrid

    Welcome to 2012, old folks. Your reign of terror is almost over.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. richard

    Not my Commanding Officer !!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Smeagel4T

    This is good for the religious right wing extremists. It gives them a ready-made explanation for the next major hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or other natural disaster. It's important to keep stock of these excuses when they want to avoid using the brain their God gave them. 🙂

    August 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      You assume too much about the generosity of their god.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Imvotingforobama

    The Army has went down hill.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      And so "have" your grammar.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Your elementary school English teacher should be shot.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bari90

    This is wonderful! Congratulations!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Reality99

    She violated legal orders for 26 years and her punishment is a promotion? Only in the pervert world run by that genetic defect called Obama would that be done.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Jealous much?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      The only reality we need to notice is that you couldn't make a good waiter at a general's table. I feel better knowing that this is just eating up your stomach lining.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • saddad

      entirely true – when was lying an Army Value except under the current administration's intepretation of truth.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
    • C130

      Wow – I didn't know Obama has been President for 26 years.......

      August 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RETIREDseniorNCO

    Congratulations Gen. Smith. Hooah!!! you break ground after, minorities, filipinos, chinese, mexicans, hispanics, blacks, females have thread's now gays and lesbians turn.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Robert

    Congratulation to the General, and to the Army!!!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
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