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. Joseph

    The right wing christian fundamentalists were mostly opposed to the civil rights movement, and weren't successful there. Won't be successful in their fight against gays either. Wrong side of history on both counts.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • cliff

      Joseph is your tyical leftist liberal blowing smoke about untruths. Christians were mingling with blacks long before it was fashionable to do so. You libs want to keep bashing conservatives with the "hate" label when, in fact, you are nothing more than a bunch of "pious pete's" who don't think their stuff stinks.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Meh

    Oh man. I wish her well.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Observer

    Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity",

    If you were a real user of a dictionary, you'd shut up and know that "observer" can mean "commentator". Ooops!

    August 11, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    @Joseph
    And your last name is Stalin I suppose?

    August 11, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nathan

    Congratulations to the General !

    August 11, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat(in a tutu)

    Come and watch me perform in all of my glory. You will not be disappointed in the magnificence of me. I am a singing bobcat and will take requests after my debut performance. Am I male or female? Check back for details.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Observer

    Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity",

    Speaking of "twips", consult unabridged dictionaries before you continue to embarass yourself with your ignorance.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    @Observer
    In my humble opinion, "you are where you belong". Good Night.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jason white

    I think that anyone who is gay in our military service should be shot by a firing squad they are a let down to our country and all true non gay country men and women plus they are bound to burn in hell

    August 11, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • What?

      That made no sense at all you moron.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Dustin Goldsen

      What you are expressing is true bigotry. It's like saying someone should be shot for being a different race or practicing a different religion.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. RickBangkok

    Congrats General

    August 11, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jason white

    All gays will burn in hell because no where in the bible does it say woman&woman/man&man so they shouldn't be allowed to serve in our nation's military or hold office as a public figure

    August 11, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Dustin Goldsen

      No where in the Bible does it say we can take aspirin for pain, fly in airplanes or watch baseball on TV, does that mean those are sins as well? However it does say that a rich man can no more get into heaven than a camel can get through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). Funny how all you far right wing nuts always ignore that one.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
    • waves

      Is this a serious comment?

      August 11, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      The bible also does not mention the United States at all... so your point is moot. That does not change the fact that you are a far right bigot though.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Observer

    Jason white,

    Was your comment a joke? Were you faking all that ignorance?

    August 11, 2012 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason white

      If I had a say into the matter i would burn all gays a the stake like they did witches because they are the outcast of our communities and the wrong influence on our straight kids today

      August 11, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. HellHound

    You alll forget that serving gay in the military was not allowed under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", so for many years this now General has had no integrity, only selfishness to a career. This is what our military has come to be, not a protector of this nation and pride, only who can make the bucks and per diem. This country is weak in morals and values and it shows everywhere. To all you folks who think this is so cool and funny, laugh when the Chinese Army come and roll over all your gay soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors

    August 11, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • S

      DADT means that. Gays COULD serve just not openly.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Actually, being gay in the military was allowed under DADT. That's what the law was enacted for. We couldn't talk about it, but we could serve. But I'm not surprised at your ignorance; it seems to be fairly status quo, based upon the comments here.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      Serving gay HAS been allowed. Don't ask don't tell simply meant you should not disclose it. She did exactly as she was asked.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Observer

    jason white,

    Your comments reflect the intelligence level of those who burned witches at the stake.

    It doesn't get much worse than that.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. waves

    I just want to thank her for her service to our country.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
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