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. bob

    i hope she dosen't make combat calls obamam is trying to weaken this country so his muslim buddies won't have to fight to hard that's why he want' gun control

    August 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Like his buddies Bin Laden and Gaddafi? He killed them because he liked them? Let me know when you finish Jr. High.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • george


      Get help! soonest.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      I'm curious. Have they invented 'language' in your part of the world?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      bob: you don't need help. you need to eat the end of your sidearm

      August 12, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. arkmark

    THis is a non issue and she even stated the that her focus was not on her choice of partner. This is and should not be news. She was promoted based on her performence as a soldier not her bed mates

    August 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      Agreed. However judging from the comments here, it IS news to too many proles that gay people are indeed people. In fact many of these commenters don't seem to have made that connection.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chuck

    To much Politically Correct CRAP..... I'm suppose to be impressed because she munches her female friends... Absolutely the wrong message to send or establish in the Military !

    August 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      Personally I think it's more important that she be able to do her job. Since she was just promoted from bird colonel with twenty-six years of service, I would guess that answer is yes.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. warnercc

    I will wait and celebrate the day a gay woman can become a flag officer in our military and not have it accompanied by some gay and lesbian rights celebration.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest


      August 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Commie Connie

    That's the spirit Tammy Smith, you go girl.
    Obama's might have my vote, if he can do this in the next four years:
    Get control of the schools. Use themas transmission belts for socialism andcurrent Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      That's already been accomplished in Texas, by Republicans.

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


    August 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Yes, you are.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      well, bubba, you are free to believe what you wish. bigotry dies hard, but it does die.

      August 12, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Robairdo

    Another step towards equality.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sbp

    They "was", "maytrs.." Your spelling is as bad as your logic.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sbp

    I was having a beer with Jesus at O'Malley's Friday night, and he specifically said:

    "jesusisking is an idiot. If you see him, tell him he's completely wrong and to stop speaking on my behalf. If I have something to say, I'LL say it. Oh, and tell him he's going to be hit by a bus next Thursday."

    Message sent.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sbp

    She's been serving her country for 26 years. Your greatest ambition is to serve fries at McDonalds.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sagebrush Shorty

    I am now at Parade Rest.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Big Paulie

    Does it really matter what she wants in the bedroom? Ranks are generally earned, so she is obviously well-qualified.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy St. Clair

      Excellent comment.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe the Plumber

    They said the military could not be integrated. It was – and became better, stronger.
    They said that women could not serve in the military. They do and it became better, stronger.
    They said that gays & lesbians could not service openly, even though they already were laying their lives down to defend this country. They will be proven wrong again.
    They know nothing.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judas Priest

      Hear hear.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. str8whtguy

    Good for her. Maybe America is finally growing up, beyond 6th grade recess politics.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ttwp

    "The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves." Isaiah 3:9

    August 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      The true sin of Sodom, according to Christ, was inhospitality. Hmm, kinda describes you, doesn't it?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      God said that the heteros in Jerusalem were worse than the Sodomites.


      August 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Father

      "love others as I have loved you"- Jesus. Are you not listening to Jesus? That's a sin, better not parade that bigotry around then

      August 12, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
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