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. Crocker

    You and me both. What is this country coming to? Are we now so damned politically correct that any deviant behavior is welcomed and trumpeted for all to see? I am embarrassed to admit that I served in this Nation's armed forces....

    August 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nabun

    She is a soldier and a Patriot, and she must be some kind of soldier to be promoted to general. The Israelis have had gays in the military for years, and they are still one of the best armies in the world. One step forward for this great nation, glad to see it.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tellitlikeitis

    @naban. A soldier? are you kidding me. What about Israel? We armed and trained them and now we protect them in a region where the majority dont want them there. Our main problems are because of that. What do they do for us?

    August 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike a 20 year vet

    I doubt you've ever been in combat. You are just a silly troll.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tellitlikeitis

    oh the editor is working overtime reading comments and deleting viable arguments. Oh well i have better things to do then waste my time trying to educate the ignorant.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Medallon

      Or maybe you are the ignorant and no one wants to hear what you say.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    August 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jose L

    Shame on us. They worked hard to take God out of schools, public places, and so will banned Churches. We are doing what Sodom and Gomorrah did, and we will pay for it dearly..

    August 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    If she says "mop the floor", YOU WILL DO IT.
    If she says "jump from that chopper", YOU WILL DO IT.
    If she says "push ups give me 50, YOU WILL DO IT.
    If she asks you "how many hours ina a day, you reply "24", then she says there is 25, YOU HAD BETTER BE PREPARED TO BELIEVE THAT.
    If she tells you to put on a blindfold, and disassemble, then reassemble an M16, YOU BETTER KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.

    August 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Phil

    The Pneumonic we learned for Generals was Be(Brigadier 1 star) My (Major 2 stars) Little (Lieutenant 3 stars) General (4 stars) Be My Little General.

    August 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. YaValioCacaWates

    I bet Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptish Church will probably have a fit. Congratulations General Smith, I would share a foxhole with you anytime. No pun intended.

    August 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JMaga

    Whew! As active duty military member, got scared w/headline here...then read "Reserve." NOT MILITARY

    August 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      Hmm! Your indifference to the 90 Marine Reservists, 120 Army Reservists, and 480 National Guardsmen who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan has been duly noted. I hope you feel large about yourself having scorned a proud and strong militia system that has served this country brilliantly since 1636.

      August 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Smith

      Tell that to all the reservists and Guardsmen that served with you in Iraq or Afghanistan!! Way to have their backs!!

      August 13, 2012 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I find it great that people are standing up for who they are. But, I also believe that drawing attention to it could cause unwanted attention. With that adding distractions and losing focus on what the 'Mission' is.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Fat Racist

    Some individuals take this thread in stride. Other individuals are outraged by her lifestyle choice.
    Me? Personally? It's not so much this womans choice in lifestyle AS gay, but how it unfortunatly it is OUR military that is being put in the position of or in alignment with socialist and communist agendas. And some of YOU PEOPLE, fall in alignment right in the same trap, and you just let it go right over your heads.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      "position of or in alignment with socialist and communist agendas"

      You do realize that in socialist Nazi Germany g a y s were executed along with the jews, and that communist China, communist Russia, and communist North Korea, all made ho mos exu ality illegal. Our military is in fact putting in place a military policy that is THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF Socialist and communist doctrine.


      August 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deanna

      Oh, would you get a life. Please.

      August 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    Congrats on your success Tammy! I look forward to the day when an openly gay flag officer is no longer news worthy.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SFCOL

    I'm a retired Army Colonel. One thing I know is that race, gender, age, orientation, or any of the other labels we put on people have little to do with what makes a good soldier. I trust people based on courage, character and an ability to accomplish the mission, not irrelevant labels. Congratulations, BG Smith!

    August 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Engineering 1LT


      August 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
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