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

    The new style of the D.o.D. in a new Communist U.S.A. Barack Obama will stop at nothing to get control of Colorado voters. Because it's a lot like Ohio, a swing state. Not today.
    The Communists are getting more control of the United States than any time in history. The leaders of the communist party have a step by step plan to gain control of the United States.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • wjs

      I've been hearing balderdash like this since I was a child in the 1950s. It's no closer to being true now than it was almost 60 years ago. You would make Joseph McCarthy proud.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jerry

    Most Gays in the Military seem to be women, I wonder why???

    August 11, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Enlighten us, please.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • aspblopm

      Actually, not.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Daggmar

      Most gays in the military seem to be women because these women do not act flamboyantly in their daily living. They are more like the 'tomboy' of the past, if at all.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. ok

    personal?

    August 11, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Yeahona

    Thrown out for being who she is. People that hate this much are the reason so many wars get started! People that hate, such as yourself, are the ones that I'm more afraid of in this world. Why don't you go back and REALLY read your bible. You might learn a few things about love and hate.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. krehator

    So she wants equal rights? I'm all for it, but how about equal standards first? Why is a 46 year old male still required to operate at levels exceeding a 17yr old female? Check it out for yourself. Both physical standards and appearance standards are ridiculously higher for males.

    AR 600-20:
    "The U.S. Army will provide EO and fair treatment for military personnel and family members without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, and provide an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior."

    "Soldiers will not be , classified, trained, assigned, promoted, or otherwise managed on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin." pssssssssst. they are!

    August 11, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      Equal rights? She is a general officer, she has more rights than most enlisted. Equal treatment? "Soldiers will not be , classified, trained, assigned, promoted, or otherwise managed on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin." Favoritism is rampant in the military; it is not who you know, not what you know, regardless of the regulations. And regulations only work or are enforced when it is advantageous to the person who is enforcing the regulations.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. DotGuy

    "President Romney" ? You mean the guy that insulted half of Europe ? The guy who was for it before he was against it ? The guy who just introduced his VP choice as the next President of the United States ? Please. And the fact is that most of the military leadership has no issues with gays in the military. Learn something.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. R L Brown

    I just dont give a damn, as long as she can do her job! Shoot,move communicate, that"s all that matters!

    August 11, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Daggmar

      Comment to RL Brown – Amen, my friend.....

      August 11, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. SherryF

    Congratulations, General!

    August 11, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brent Jatko

    I. too, live in a conservative area (Houston, TX) where bigotry is often displayed under the guise of Christian religion.

    I simply don't understand what all the fuss is about.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. fernace

    Here are some things that disgusts me: starving children, wars, abusiveness, inequality, those who want to perpetuate inequality through bigotry, prejudice & voluntary ignorance! Congrats, General, thanks for your dedicated service! Even though I hate war, I thoroughly appreciate those who are willing to protect this nation, should war become a necessity & through daily preventative actions to make sure it doesn't! Brig. Gen. Smith hasn't made her lifestyle an issue, why should any of us! She should be saluted & celebrated, not scorned w/open disgust! That's disgusting!!

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

    Romney would support her.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Real G-d fearing people know that it is not thier place to "judge" others.
    Also G-d fearing people also know in the final accounting of everyones life, G-d will be the final judge of our spiritual fate.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chopper

    A very sad day in America!!

    August 11, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. klyphster

    Boo to this entire comment...smh.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. Aaron

    Since there is no chance of Romney winning I guess we don't have to worry about your bigoted views.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
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