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. Joseph

    Attaboy Dave, very enlightened outlook.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LAguy

    That had to be the most ridiculous post in web history. What silly point were you trying desperately to make?

    August 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ICBM

    This s too bad and a sorry state to reward someone who violated regulations when they joined the service and continued to do so–guess it's okay to violate rulesand standards when you're on the PC side.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crowley

      Again, the only reason the founding fathers weren't hung is because they won. They broke rules all day long but i guess that's fine huh? Whether you agree with them or not by YOUR thinking when people in charge make rules they should be followed.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. deb

    About time to ignore irrelevant personal trivia and promote on the basis of.merit.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cdogg

    I didn't know too many female officers that were not gay.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. king_dork

    I think they just want you to stay out of their gay lives, TransitDave, and let them be humans like the rest of us.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Doug

    It's juat a marriage, no different than anyone elses, your comments are why gays are fighting for rights.. I know in your small closed mind you will never get it, but your comments are childish..

    August 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alleah

    Yeah, gays want to marry legally, so what is your rambling point??

    August 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cpc65

    When I clicked on the headline I was expecting to see General Maxwell Q. Klinger.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • billNY

      haha, awesome

      August 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pete/Ark

    Key words "openly gay"....if anyone is surprised by the existance of a gay General Officer, they never served in the military.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. M. W. Ellis

    Hey TransitDave which backward southern state are you from?

    August 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ricardo

    She was passed along with affirmative action and Equal Opportunity threats of lawsuit and career-ending pain, alot like Major Hasan was passed along because he was muslim, even after authoring psycho jihad supporting papers for his military classes.

    The 1960s ushered in the egalitarian legal regime, where hippies compelled the fiction of equality despite all empirical data to the contrary. Cut by cut, America is bleeding to death. The don't-ask-don't-tell repeal was only the most recent manifestation of the insidiousness of the counter culture left.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • maureen

      Ricardo you got it right and in so few words bravo

      August 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pete/Ark

    I only met a few that WERE...rumors are easy to find...

    August 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sam stone

    freedom of speech does not apply to private organizations

    August 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GySgtG

    This woman violated her oath to obey the law for 20 years. She is not fit to wear the uniform

    August 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexasRedNeck

      You tell'em Gunny, she is a liar and is unfit to serve.

      August 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
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