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. Barksdale

    there comes a point in time when you realize, people are mostly born gay, it is not a choice....that being said you cant discriminate against something someone was born with.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • cliff

      Born gay? You gotta be kidding. You are not born that way...you seek that life because of the sick, demented person you are.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hemet Jeff

    Based on the photo, who woulda guessed?

    August 11, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. butch

    its ok if we're talking about lesbians. you can respect a lesbian. it will be a very long time before a gay man is given the rank of general. the kind of respect an army general commands is extremely rare in men.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • cliff

      Respect the POSITION....not the PERSON!

      August 11, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Knotty Boy

    An M16 doesn't care whose finger is pulling the trigger. Just pull the trigger.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. MSL58

    Can you imagine how pathetic someone would have to be to care about someone else's seksual preferences?

    August 11, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      The right wing bible thumpers will have one more thing to blow a gasket over. Funny stuff. They run the risk of having a brain anurysm if they get more angry and hateful. Big laughs for this atheist.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • zzBottom

      who? like CNN?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
    • nk

      Never looked at it that way, but I think you're right.

      I mean why should you care, esp. if you dont even know the person.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    This all part of the plot, of a massive communist takeover of the United States

    August 11, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • snowboarder

      you betcha

      August 11, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Some guy

      No no no, its not the communists. Its the muslims, or maybe the chinese.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. gayaway

    assange's different role

    August 11, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Condorito

    While she looks like a man more than like a woman and this whole gay thing is not my cup of tea, experience and competence trumps all these personal feelings. If on top of that she drinks good beer, then even the mentioned issues become minor.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. snowboarder

    there seems to be something profoundly wrong with your ability to reason.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marla

    Congratulations to the General. How wonderful that her partner was able to participate in her pin-on ceremony.
    Next, that partner needs to be granted the same rights that I have as a military spouse.
    Then, there will be true equality.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Wrong

    Whew, it's a chick. Not a real general.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Todd

    Would've been more impressed if it was a guy. Lesbians have never inspired the same hate and disgust as gay men anyway, so this isn't much of a step.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. Observer

    It would be far better to be gay than to have the level of intelligence you display.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    @Observer
    If your a real observer you'd shut up, and take note.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. nk

    I suddenly want to hear that happens to you.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
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