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. bigdawg

    Hooah! We're going to drag the Armed Forces, and the rest of America, into the 21st Century whether they like it or not!!!

    Signed, straight but not narrow!

    August 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carole Clarke

    My father spent 34 years in the rmy and had to put up with all kinds of people. But no matter what, he got the job done, smiled, said "yes sir/ma'am" and let it go. We thought that there were just two genders and every thing else was non-reg. Now we are learning that there are many shades of gender and we will be learnnig how and why for decades to come. I expect God already knows and is just letting us figure it out. Nature usually finds the middle ground to keep balance so I'll trust that since he made us all and he does not make mistakes, that all will be revealed as we progress.

    August 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fearnogod

    This has got to STOP being news, the quicker people let go of this type of discrimination, the quicker we can move forward !

    August 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Capt. Jean Luc Piccard

    She'd make a dandy yeoman on my ship. Ahead warp factor 12.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Floyd

    20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil
    Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

    7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after 'strange flesh', are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

    20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

    Gen 18:20 (KJV)

    Jude 1:7 (KJV)

    20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil
    Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

    August 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      floyd: good for're able to quote a book! very convincing argument!

      August 12, 2012 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Loyal Northern Democrat

    I wonder if they served tuna tacos at the reception afwards?

    August 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    Boy I bet the enemy is shaking in their boots! We are the laughing stock of the world under OBAMA!

    August 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Tell that to Osama Bin Laden and Gaddafi. Oh, wait, we did SO much better under W.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      she also served (and was promoted) under Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton and Shrub

      August 12, 2012 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Also, Frankie-goes-to-hollywood, putting your drivel in caps does not make it any less drivel

      August 12, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    Went from General Patton to a 90lb lesbian! LOL! Is this some kind of a joke!?

    August 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      No, Frankie, you are

      August 12, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. sbp

    Spent, please explain how the GOVERNMENT abridged your speech? Is CNN the government? Oh, I see, you have no clue what the 1st Amendment is.

    You also have no clue how the AUTOMATED censor program on CNN works.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Capt. Jean Luc Piccard

    I don't want to be around after she files 700 defamation of character charges against us. Hmmmm?

    August 11, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Capt. Jean Luc Piccard

    I predict by Tuesday, the flash mob she encited will be closer to 2000.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    The enemy will laugh that little 90 lb girl scout off the battle field! Is this some kind of a joke? We have Navy seals taking orders from this soccer mom!? Obama is deliberately WRECKING THIS NATION IN EVERY FACET. Nobody could be that DUM B to do it out of ignorance.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Do you think all Generals carry machine guns and charge the enemy? Are you 12 years old?

      August 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      I'm sure she could make you cry within 15 seconds. "Tough guys" online are always wimps in real life.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I'm very concerned about the United States of America. It seems that every day Obama is in office that this country sinks deeper into filthy disrepair. Obama is making a laughingstock out of our country and our military.

      Just like it says in the Bible... in the end times Good will be called bad and Bad will be alled good....Obama is going to be the death of America.

      Everyone who has a brain, please vote for Romney. At least Romney has unquestionable good American values and I have no concern that he and Ryan Paul will help this morally and economically depresses county return to health. And Romney and Ryan both are bonofide Born in American.... unlike Mr. Obama.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • sybaris

      "Smith is serving as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve"

      Frank, please illustrate how Smith will ever be on a battlefield and how Navy SEALs will be taking orders from her.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • JLMZEN

      Nope. I love what our president's doin. I am an American. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of our newest general, and I like mom and apple pie too.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      You do realize that this soldier already held the rank of colonel, has held a commission for 26 years since her graduation from the United States Army War College, do you not? Or were you simply speaking out of complete and utter ignorance?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      I neglected to mention that the Navy SEALs will not be taking orders from General Smith in any case. First, she is not in SOG. Second, she is a general in the United States ARMY. If you need that explained to you in any greater detail, I suggest you ask the nearest five-year-old for assistance.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Capt. Jean Luc Piccard

    Starfleet captain is military’s first openly hetero flag officer.
    Anybody want to comment about this?

    August 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Indigloknight

    Home of the almost free and narrow minded. Congratulations.

    Afghan Vet

    August 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      We fight so they have the chance to learn and grow.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sbp

    English, please.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
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