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. Hunter sewell

    I dont care if your gay or not,it doesnt bother me but can you believe the jokes his soldiers will tell theyll be the really happy divison

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

    good for her

    August 11, 2012 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Muchadoaboutnothing

    Congrats General Smith! Well done soldier! Hoo Rah!

    August 11, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. The Doug

    Good for him.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. T-bone

    She's not gay. She's a lesbian.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. fthomas

    She got a Star not Stars, she is a one star general please learn about what you are to report, that is what is so wrong with America, no more civics taught in schools and fools like this reporter says what he thinks and there is no editior to fact check the article so the dumb continue to become more dumb.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • trooperchix

      the promotion is called "getting your stars". Been there, know this..

      August 11, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. LTC R.W. 'Tank' Ward

    After reading these comments I'm almost embarrassed that I even clicked on the article. Hand Salute Ma'am.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • arturotorres

      About time military. Get rid of Romney and his tea party perverts. Gays and Lesbians are good people.

      August 11, 2012 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thugvon

    He will make a fine general.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. nobamain12

    In a side related story the Army is now switching all armored personnel carriers to Subarus....

    August 11, 2012 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. BH

    This is the level of sophistication that I love in all civil discourse. Truly engaging.

    August 11, 2012 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. hundescheiss

    Thes comments are blow the belt and clearly show who the Amereican middleclass represent. It is sad to see the kind of garbage in the brians of 360 + million Americans. If this kind of languange is in teh heads of Americans than yes they might as well shoot each other like bandits in teh wild west. America is a dangerous country!

    August 11, 2012 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
    • TeachAman

      Honestly, no one takes you seriously with THAT many spelling errors.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. poeyedtree

    Wow James.. just wow

    August 11, 2012 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. saddad

    Interesting how my post on how her enlistment was fraudulent didn't get past the CNN censors.

    August 11, 2012 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Sgt Slaughter

      Army officers are supposed to set the standard. To place duty and obedience above their personal desires and profit.

      Instead this person violated that trust and is rewarded with a general's star.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
    • leah1026

      Oh give it a rest and stop being a bigot.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    This is not the United States of America I knew a decade ago.

    August 11, 2012 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Thats what Im screaming Joe and it is very sad. Wish the old red white and blue would come back peoples values are changing drastically.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Jebbb

      IIt ain't the United States of 1860 either.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Max Roundhouse

    General has aides.

    August 11, 2012 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
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