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. Jason

    A woman as a general. That's not something you see every day.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sierra79

    As an ex Marine who was in the infantry, I think it is important to note two things. First, this is the Army, and secondly she is not a 'line' officer. Until you have women serving as 'line' officers (especially in the USMC), all of this is rather meaningless. I'm not trying to rain on her day, it's just that if women really want 'real' equality they are going to have to demand entrance into actual combat units.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. katolungile

    Ummm... Like nobody could tell.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. rene leborhis

    Is UCMJ Art 129 still in force ?

    August 11, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. James PDX

    During the flood, God aborted every single fetus on the planet. Now who is immoral and unethical, you moronic hypocrite?

    August 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jesus Is Lord

    Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    August 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      I believe. I believe that God once aborted every fetus on the planet by drowning it, along with all of their young siblings because the Judao Christian god is a child murderer many times over.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Southernsugar

    Really didn't need to know this. Was it necessary to publish?

    August 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Name s kel

    lol how stupid the republicans are. Every belief of theirs reek of supressive fascist ideology yet there go the deciving liers and truth haters calling others what they are.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mikebo

    There goes the neighborhood.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. me

    I just think its interesting...look at cnn's headlines then look at the bbc
    so far on the bbc i've read about an ebola outbreak in africa thats killed a bunch of people and about a case against some currupt border agents who have been smuggling in illegal immigrants and accepting bribes...

    August 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      So...you admit to watching reality shows, giggity, lol?

      I don't...reality shows bite.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Veritas

    Please go back to whatever rock you crawled out from. You are no longer welcomed on planet earth.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jack Kieser

    lol, a Christian talking about ethics. That's funny, see, because I am a professional ethicist; I study and write about ethics for a living, as in actual scholarly work, as opposed to your armchair religous "ethics". At best, the word you meant to use was "immoral", and at worst, you have no right to be using EITHER word, you know, coming from a religion that spawned the Crusades and the Inquisition.

    Good try, though. Maybe better luck next time?

    August 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. reader10

    As long as they don't call it marrige.It is still MAN and WOMAN.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      it is what the government says it is. a government license is required for marriage, a church ceremony is not

      August 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ken

    Is she a good soldier? It appears she is. If she can lead troops and is not a political promotion, more power to her.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HamannNY

    What is this world comming to

    August 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Love, tolerance, empathy, among other supposedly christian characteristics.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Calvin

      "Love, tolerance, empathy, among other supposedly christian characteristics" Please quote your source. Thanks.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      do equal rights for all bother you? if so, why?

      August 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
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