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. hangar13

    As Dirty Harry stated so eloquently in The Enforcer, "That's very stylish."

    August 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. michael

    Its about time. Your qualifications are the reason for your promotion. You just happened to be Gay. Congratulations!!!!!!!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      Did you leave out a word? You just happened to "choose" to be Gay.

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

    Way to Tammy! We are so proud of you!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PETER

    Land of the free, home of the gays

    August 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      And obviously home of the bigots and small-minded as well.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • KimK63

      Thank god that this General and other military folks, gay or straight give you the right to speak your mind! Don't forget it. If you lived elsewhere, you may not have had the same privilege!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • scorpioman

      Good one. : )

      August 11, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      The new Army slogan... "Never leave your buddies behind"

      August 11, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • CABigot

      Time to make gay pride day a National Holiday on April 1st. This Nation is already under Judgment.The drought,the looming financial collapse,the continued mocking of God and His laws will continue.Most likely,Obama will be re-elected. God likes to have the wicked in power when He finally drops the hammer. There is no political solution to a spiritual problem.As the Nation degenerates,God's judgment will escalate. The point will be reached when He finally strikes this Nation a mighty blow and brings this contest to an end.Your a reprobate Nation America.Your days are numbered.

      August 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    I don't care who you do what with in the privacy of your own home as long as you can do your job.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      Then you agree that she should have kept her mouth shut?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      Yet, they keep making it about what they do in their bedroom.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gary

    I wonder how long it will take an openly gay man to cross this threshold. It seems that gay women are more accepted in both the military and society at large than gay men.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Í have noticed that, too.
      I wonder why that is?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Congratulations to General Smith.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Bigotry has no place in the Army.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      Degenerates have no place in the military

      August 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • edpoko

      Ever been in a fox hole ?? Without bigotry in a fox hole, you don't have the person with you that you can trust to cover your back when things get really bad!!!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • vowelmovement

      killing is our business

      and business is good

      August 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Neither do gays.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      Neither does supporting sin. But our leaders are now doing it.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      "Here you are all equally worthless!"

      August 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      You keep saying that but it is not bigotry. It is disgust.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Mans army is riddled with bigotry banasy. Mans Army seeks peace without God.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Mary:
      That was in reply to a very disgusting post that has since been deleted.
      Taken out of context as it has, it wouldn't make much sense, so I'm not going to explain it here; it'll just get *this* post deleted.
      It has inflammatory and hateful, and tgat has no place in the army, either.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Bigotry is one of the characteristics of the Army banasy. The Army seeks to gain world peace without God.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Are u still looking twip up Jeff Frank?
      Will your comeback be this week in pictures?
      Try adding an at or erp to the suffix.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Wait till the fragging starts...

      August 11, 2012 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Eat mor chik'n

      .l. as you make your own bigoted comment. Nice.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      Neither does immorality . . . according the the Army Values.

      August 11, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • wildone

      Racial bigotry against black soldiers in the military existed for many years.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • maestra730

      Neither do gays.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • ronjayaz

      Bigotry has place ANYWHERE!

      August 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      There is no place for 90lb lesbian, girl scout (GENERALS) in the Army you mean! THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!

      August 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • cnnsukz

      neither does the gay parade.

      August 12, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Helen

      The armed forces exclude felons, medical maladies, general technical scores below eighty (rough equivalent of IQ). Bigotry? The purpose of the armed forces is to fight and win our nation's wars, not to be a social experiment for equal rights. Should the Army admit polygamists? Beastiality? Incest?

      August 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      @ RR ...Oh, cite your banal statistics somewhere else. I suppose the 31 attacks on female recruits by their male drill instructors at Lackland AFB was a direct result ....of WHAT?

      August 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Cox

    Your comment was just as offensive the first time you posted it.

    (And by the way ... the armed forces had both Republican and Democrat Commanders-in-Chief during her time in service to our country. And yet your biased viewpoint chooses only to condemn Obama. Bigot much?

    August 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

      Obama was not in the military!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name s kel

      Mitt sure as hell served a hard time in Paris france during Vetinam......opps I forgot the coward brought his way out! Vive la france as mitt the rich twitt would say.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • John-117

      waaaahhh, offensive comments on the internet. Boohooo

      August 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gino

    Maybe, just maybe, this country will will be adult enough one day that this information wouldn't be a so-called "news" story.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      Since when is it "adult" to accept deviant behavior?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    No matter what mankind does, the Creator is in control...ALWAYS! While He is longsuffering in love and patience, don't take Him for granted or underestimate Him. He is holy, righteous, and just. If this statement of Truth makes you upset, then take it up with Him and not me. I am just the messenger.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      And He saw this woman get her justified promotion to General.
      He is just, indeed.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • HLAW

      Looks like the message got scrambled during transmission.

      August 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    Gee...she doesn't look gay. LOL.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      That is funny. She really didn't need to say a thing. 🙂

      August 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark N.

    Congratulations Gen. Smith, thank you for your service to our Nation.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mama for Obama

    Congratulations General! We are moving forward and making progress! The world is a better place today. Obama 2012!!!

    August 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      Satan has you right where he wants you. 😉

      August 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexasRedNeck

      let me take a wild guess and say,
      1. you're a govt. employee,( ie. a welfare breeding machine probably 4th. generation)
      2. you enjoy letting others support you and yours
      3. you're too stupid to see where this all leads to
      Did the general get where she is because she's intelligent or because she's gay ?

      August 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • cnnsukz

      you're an idiot

      August 12, 2012 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. WL Pratt

    UGH!

    August 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
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