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.

Post by:
Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell • Gay and lesbian • Military • U.S. Army
soundoff (748 Responses)
  1. Brad

    There are NO real choices in this election.. I will not be voting, then I can blame those that voted for putting a flip-flop in office or keeping the same person that blames EVERYTHING on the past president in..

    August 11, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      I'll vote for whichever out of party person appears on the ballot, as I always do.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. blake

    Disgraceful. The far left is systematically undermining the world's strongest military.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      Explain how this woman undermines the military in any way?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bible reader

    Oh wow, surprise.... someone using a clobber passage out of context. Read on my friend...

    "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things." Romans 2, NIV

    August 11, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Floyd

    16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

    Gal 4:16 (KJV)

    3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    2 Peter 3:3 (KJV)

    August 11, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. SugarKube

    This guy gives standing at attention a whole new meaning.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. mmanr1918

    now she got her own rainbow party battalion adviser for the top of the W.H.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Audrey

    To Jeff Frank: I'm surprised that in this day and age, someone still sees Communists behind every tree. I can't imagine why you'd post such a comment regarding an article about promotion of a new General. Frankly, Mr. Frank, the implication of a Communist General makes we want to laugh out loud, because it's too absurd to be frightening.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    Thank you Tammy for your service.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill the Cat

    “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.”

    So, why even mention it?

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

      The magazine asked her that question. That is how she answered. Can you not read?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Able to reason

      Probably because she was being interviewed and they asked her the $64,000 question.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • markus

      they asked. she told. end of story.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      This is reminiscent of the Chick-Fil-A story.
      They asked, the question was answered, uproar ensues...
      As they say in court, "asked and answered".
      Move on.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. MGHHNJ

    It's good to know that everyone that want s to serve will have the opportunity. We don't have the draft, and very rich and politicians do not encourage their children to join. There are a few gay people that feel extremely patriotic and have a sense of service, and I think it's great they don't have to look over their shoulders while fulfilling a great service to the nation. Best hopes and wishes to all who serve in the military. You should be honored above all others.

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

      Thanks for your sensible comment. Totally agree.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Crappyphil

    Nothing has been answered. It remains to be seen if corporate dollars (like those promised by the Chik-Fil-A corporation opposed to non-traditional values and ethics) will be enough to restore traditional laws and values in America.
    Lobbying Congress to restore laws banning sodomy, abortion, and gay marriage will be very expensive and take years. THEN banasy's "answer" will come.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      My statement was part of another conversation.
      They asked her a question, she gave her answer.
      Reading more into it than what was posted is absurd.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Klancy Schmertz

    A great group of people to be on the front lines in a battlefield.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. truttman

    A Reservist and a woman. Still pretty far from Active-Duty, gay man.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. SS

    I thank your Jesus for you being elderly as well. You will soon go to your grave taking your hate with you. Good riddance.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • GBAZ

      Your comment is uncalled for. As a gay man myself, I say "shame on you." Why is it that my communty feels like we need to wallow in the same mire that those who do not understand or those who do NOT wish to or even try to understand who we are as a people group? It's one thing to protest, it's another to sling mud, call names and act exactlyl like those who oppose us are expecting of us. Grow up.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • GBAZ

      My comment is to you and those like you, SS.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Seyedibar

    It's a shame she's the first openly gay general, but there have been many many gay generals before her. We had a gay 4 star general in the 90s.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27