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. Judas Priest

    I can certainly tell that you don't.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Judas Priest

    Welcome to the Army that's finally admitting that who you screw has no effect on how well you do your duty.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. eroteme

    God save us!

    August 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeremy St. Clair

    Oh and those of you praising Obama for this need to wake up along with the people blaming Obama for this. As others have pointed out–this women earned her rank. Unless, of course, a 25 year old Barack Obama devised the most elaborate and success conspiracy ever that involved an unqualified woman successfully rising through the ranks of a male dominated work enviroment. Of course, if you believe that–then you believe 9/11 was an inside job and banks, not politicians, are the reason the economy collapsed. But let's be serious–if you believe that then you shouldn't be on this site–you should standing in line to get your medication from the nurse down the hall.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Juan Torres

    the bombing of hiroshima and nagasski was a sin and she is a sinner. so whats the difference?

    August 12, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Observer


    Read the Bible sometime.

    – Ezekiel 16:49 “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” – God

    August 12, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. WebDer

    I hope evryone here who has expressed their opinion have served in the Military in some compacity. Gays and lesbians have been in the Military for awhile and just didnt talk about it No one really had a proplem with them if they did their job. The real proplem with the military today is the waivers that were approved for felons, mental issues, age, physical limitations and the ignorant to support the war. The whole Military Force is voluntary if you dont like it dont join trust me there are worst things than working ewith someone who has different attractions.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. neilmccauleyheat95

    If she gets the job done, that is all that matters! Next story please.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kevin O.

    Congratulations, Ma'am!!!

    August 12, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jeremy St. Clair

    Actually, Marquice, it's perfectly legal under the UCMJ. But if you insist, please give us the article in the UCMJ that mentions she can not be lesbian. Of course, you'll need to take your complaint about her violation of a non-existent law up with those that promoted her multiple times over a 26 year period. But what do I know, I probably missed all the news stories about the Senate hearing investigating the unlawful and fraudulent promotion of a lesbian. I'm sure heads will roll over this one.

    August 12, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jack

    Funny how CNN decided to open this article up to anonymous, uncensored comments and not the article I would actually want to comment on, in a truthful manner. Which particular staff member of the CNN gestapo gets to decide where free speech does or does not get to be included, despite the press in general whining about their rights continually? The hypocrisy just about makes me ill.

    August 12, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      free speech does not apply to private organizations. if you need to get ill, feel free.

      August 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. j672971

    Well, He will keep his troops on their toes!!

    August 12, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Batman

    So we could not tell by her picture?

    August 12, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. ken

    God hates sin

    August 12, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Including that of speaking for god, Kenny?

      August 12, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Wowamericaislosingit

    Welcome to united gay of America one for all all for one lmao hahahahahaha wow what next a women president hahaha

    August 12, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
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