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. polycarp pio

    Isnt that just very UNWONDERFUL, this repobate administration and the people who support it will soon taste the judgement of an angry God towards those who rebuff his commanements. PP

    August 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Your god has no power here. Begone!

      August 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Why should we trust you?

      August 11, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rick

    bigots are funny, in their own sad little worlds

    August 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Clarke99

    Why all the gay bashing? Why the hate? Why are some people so mean spirited? The gays have served our country with honor, they have died for your freedoms, just like all the men and women who serve. For me, I thank them all. And for you haters out there give up your freedoms and move else where or just shut the faculty door!

    August 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Buck

    You will believe......one day. Trust me

    August 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maximillien Robespierre

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. athensguy

    certainly not your couch...

    August 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Richard Wad

    Good one

    August 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. athensguy

    i am so sory for you... u must be a 12 yo insecure little boy...

    August 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Richard Wad

    You hit the nail on the head there, no pun intended

    August 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Maya

    Those who are bashing this woman need to get a clue. There have been lesbians in the military since they allowed women in the military. The military has been well known as a place where lesbians are comparatively common for decades. By and large, these women have served honorably. The only difference is that they are now allowed to be honest about who they are. It seems to me that lying to your fellow soldiers is the thing that is dishonorable.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. j williamson

    Congrats to Brig. Gen. Smith! She gained her position the old-fashioned way – she earned it! (And happens to be gay – yawn... is this really that big of a deal in 2012?)

    August 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob Caps

    nope, no free speach here. cnn does per-screen.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • wes

      yea its sad that we are suppose to have a freedom of speech, but not here on cnn. I think there commies?

      August 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      "speach"? "per screen"?

      August 12, 2012 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mikey McNutt

    Before opening the article I already knew it would be a lesbian.

    August 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • bigdawg

      So what?

      August 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CaliMatt

    Army appointed a woman to the rank of General who has no combat experience aside from pushing paper in Afghanistan for no other reason other than she is gay. She is a credibility problem because at the time she enlisted DADT was not in force. She had to have lied to get into the Army. If she would lie for that imagine all the other times she lied and could lie in the future. I have no respect for this deviannt animal and I hope someone in the military who respects UCMJ will take care of her for us.

    August 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • SSampson

      Not all Generals have field experience – not all Generals are involved with making tactical decisions – But if you had actually served, you'd have known that....

      I have no opinion of her because Idon't know her... but if she is bad at her job, she'll make a great General –

      August 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      How do you claim to know the reason she was promoted, Matt?

      August 12, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Fritz Hohenheim

    Oh no, who has ever heard of gay people in the Navy 🙂

    August 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • SSampson

      Until they allowed women in, the Navy made the YMCA look straight

      Not to mention, the women have improved thier footbal scores...

      August 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
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