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. stevoreeno

    Now we will need seafood K rations.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DAVID

    James PDX Like your comment, Little do these unfortunate narrow minded people know they have ALREADY!!!! been helped or treated by a gay person. It is so SAD they cant just learn to live life one day at a time and dont waste sooooo much time, with hate, Lastly what do you think these people would do if they found out that the PERSON who gave them a kidney to live( BLACK GAY ASIAN etc) would they have it removed or would they humble themselves and thank them????? Its easier to be happy than angry or sad:)

    August 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PrimitiveUSCountry

    The US is starting to grow up but is still pretty backwards. Cannot believe it took you till last year to finally repeal "don't ask, don't tell".

    August 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. overdonehangersteak

    Oops, sorry. This was aimed at RARE T-BONE.


    August 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hector

    Another political promotion, she is a reservist anyway and it is very rare they get promoted to that rank without actively serving in wars. Good for her though but her wife is ugly as all sin.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ColB

      Read the article–she did serve in Afghanistan because ODUMA sent her there. What have you done to help preserve freedom in America?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • armyb

      Actually Hector, you're wrong. Just because she's working for the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve doesn't mean she's a reservist. She's most likely AGR, which means she's active duty. Besides, a DEPUTY CHIEF is not a one weekend a month job. Common sense man. Reservists get promoted all the time, but the active component of the Reserve are the ones that get the stars.

      Also, don't bash on reservists. One team, one fight. Plenty of Guard and Reservists have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just because they don't serve full time doesn't mean they're not important.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marine57

    This perverted event does NOT go to the evolution of mankind (that is, a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : GROWTH).

    This acceptance of a perverted individual who's inordinate love is based upon that which is against nature, goes to the decadence of mankind (that is, marked by decay or decline and characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence)

    August 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Luckily evolution has a way of weeding idiots like you out of the food chain... hopefully, not to much longer before your ignorance gene dries up and blows away... the world will be that much better of a place...

      August 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NorCalMojo

    How special. Now if they could only defeat the 7th century goat herders we call the Taliban.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ColB

    Interesting that she didn't "announce" until the day she pinned on her first star and then it was done in private.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ColB

    Interesting that she waited until the day she pinned on her first star –in a private ceremony–to "announce."

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

    OK, I'm a Republican, and a Christian – flavor irrelevant. Haven't voted a straight ticket yet!

    Assuming Brigadier General Smith is a competent officer, deserving of her promotion, my sincere congratulations to her. If her advancement is based upon "political correctness" – and I really don't care what the PC classification is – shame on the person giving the promotion! A mature society promotes or declines to advance all persons based upon their merits or lack of them. Nothing else matters.

    Compassionate caring for a society's weak or challenged members is certainly appropriate, but not

    August 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Norps

    I'm sure this resembled something like an intelligent coherent point in your tiny warped little brain, but on paper it just doesn't work. Sorry you are going to have to resort to infantile insults and belittlement. Nobody else can understand you otherwise.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brestep

    The only issue I have with this is the 'values' statement. If this woman has a 'spouse', then apparently they have been in a relationship for quite some time. That relationship was not a valid part of military life until a year ago. Up until then, she was violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Aren't those the 'values' she's sworn to uphold?

    August 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelli

      One of our most honored and distinguished Americans, Sally Ride , who also happened to be gay, passed away last week!

      August 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. D. Hunter

      No, those were not the VALUES she is sworn to honor. Those were lousy regulations that people with VALUES got rid of.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Trust me, a LOT of people were breaking that rule.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crowley

      Just like all the founding fathers were traitors to the crown?

      Some rules and laws are just bad. Rules and laws that people should follow for the so called betterment of society decided upon by a few to control the many? Sure. But bad all the same.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JF

      Brestep, it's "Don't Ask Don't Tell". She did not break the UCMJ, if she kept it a secret. She just wasn't allowed to pubicly acknowledge her relationship.

      August 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOL

      Nope. The law was "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Meaning, as a superior, you can't ask, and as a subordinate, you didn't have to tell.

      August 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • anothermuse

      That's why DADT was the wrong policy. And while you may be correct I don't know that it was really a vaules issue.

      August 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Actually 26 years predates don't ask don't tell. Nothing against her I think she always should have been allowed to serve but it does point out the selective interpertation and enforcement of the military's anti gay policy.

      August 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gyno_American

    I do not care which way you swing if you are in the Army. I just expect you to be able to kill, and kill well. That is all that is required.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Citizentobe

    The decline of a great nation continues.....

    August 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J. D. Hunter

    Not funny, not even cute.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
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