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. justice

    what do you expect? It is the ARMY..you remember.."be all you can be" ??

    August 11, 2012 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sgt Slaughter

    So for over 20 years this officer betrayed her oath to obey the law.

    She should be facing a court martial for her decades of violating military law and dishonoring the trust that was placed in her.

    But in these politically correct days she is of course being rewarded.

    August 11, 2012 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
    • leah1026

      Stop being a BIGOT. We as a country has moved forward, why haven't you?

      August 11, 2012 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
    • lou50

      yep you are righ, the country has collapsed on itself, never to be great again. The news media played a great part in that!

      August 11, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. celt

    Being gay will not affect this generals ability to do her job. She has given many years in the service of the country she loves so we should be judgemental about the person she loves in her life. I applaud her and respect her.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. Frank McKenzie

    She is fabulous. I am sooooo happy for her.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I am proud of the social progress in the USA.
    It's about time for my sarcastic line, "Freedom for Some," to become obsolete.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Liz

    There was a time when the comments would have been nasty because a woman made General. I haven't seen one comment about it! It's progress, and I will take it. The military is slow to accept change but the younger generation of soldiers simply do not care about this issue. If she is a good leader, nothing else matters.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hof

    No wonder she's a lesbian. She looks like she should be entered in a claiming race.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. r00t4rd3d

    Well, that escalated quickly.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. r00t4rd3d

    She lies her entire career then gets general?

    August 11, 2012 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. dasea

    *openly gay... right right... I don't go watch college softball to get dates, I go for friendship you dig?

    August 11, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. felix

    Very stylish

    August 11, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. schoolsub

    Yep, it's now 'Teddy Roosevelt and his RUMP riders'.

    August 11, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. larry5

    Geeee, I wonder how this promotion got pushed through the system. Maybe Obama might call on her to head up his private security force he talks about that is as powerful as the military. She can help him realize his national security goals he keeps harping on. Hitler had an security force just like that, too.

    August 11, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Terae

    i had to come to see who it was lol...the farthest the military people will go in accepting gays in the military is if it is a woman....the men will never step up trust me..the military will show the women because it is openly accepted in the military for women but just because its legal for men too doesnt mean they will step forward because of the way most of the straight men feel and would look at them...sorry but its true....im around military all day

    August 11, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • scott

      well said

      August 11, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. EMCS (SS)

    So, for 20 + years she was knowingly violating the UCMJ (military law) and now she gets promoted to General, I guess integrity has nothing to do with the military anymore,

    August 11, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      No, she didn't violate the law. Don't ask, don't tell. They didn't ask, she didn't tell.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • 1443H

      (@EMCS) This excuse is truly overrated and laughable. Do you know how many service members are guilty of under age drinking, fraternizing, adultery, and other things that are punishable under the UCMJ? I served so this is not me looking from the outside in either. I'm also sure that whenever someone does any of these things the first thing they do after morning formation is go to their platoon leader or section head and confess.

      August 12, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
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