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. Sam


    August 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GySgtG

    The average Marine and Sailor will never welcome these degenerates. We may have to tollerate them, but we don' t have to welcome or trust them and we don't. Understand this it is not hate, it certianly is not fear. Make no mistake it is disgust.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What denial; of course this is hate and fear (where do you think the origins of "disgust" come from, genius?).

      August 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeAnne

      You must be an's military isn't afraid like you are. Wake up and see the world, it's 2012.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • rswon

      I hate to break it to you, but there have always been gay people in the military. I was talking to guy (civilian) who lived near a military base. He said during those two years he never had so much action from hot guys. Just so ya know, "We're everywhere". Your hairdresser could be one.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      I'm not disgusted. I'd be proud to continue to serve under her leadership. (Major, active duty, Ft Stewart)

      August 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdoe

      Disgust: Just another variation of fear and hate.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johdar

      Gunny, You seem to not be keeping up with the news. There have already been several reports of the troops from all branches not caring if their co-workers were gay or not. It is a whole new world and you are behind the curve.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. UmErYaOkiDoki

    Um, so a full Colonel now promoted to a 1 star General LIED, DECIEVED and subverted the military laws that were in place and in full effect for her 26 YEARS of service? And this person is in what position of authority and responsibility?

    August 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John N Florida

      THEY didn't ask; she DIDN'T tell. That was the law. And apparently the people around her had enough respect for the job she was doing , she wasn't 'outed' by some limp _____ out of revenge or jealousy.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • UmErYaOkiDoki

      O ya I stand corrected – she only LIED, DECIEVED and SUBVERTED the laws for 12 years – since the other "esteemed" President put into effect "Don't ask, Don't tell....So once again what postiion of authority and responsibility are we "trusting" her with now....

      August 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • MiamiMikey

      Sorry – being forced to deny who you are to serve your country. I have more faith in her defending America than someone like you who cannot understand that everyone is not created in the image of YOU!!!

      August 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Either that's a bad picture, or she is ill, or she needs some Ambien.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • J R Brown

      With her appearance, it's obvious that she's been openly gay for much longer than the relatively short time since the repeal of DADT.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John N Florida

    @ GySgtG; I read these same twisted excuses fro treating others less than equal 64 years ago. It was an EXCUSE then. It's an EXCUSE now.
    What's the proper reply, Gunny?
    and there is none.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      Color is a completely different issue. Most black men know this. Gay is a choice
      Again you can force us to deal with these degenerates, but we don't have to welcome them or accept them.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      @ GySgtG is your preference for blondes or chubby chicks or Asians or whatever you are attracted to a choice? If not, then neither is being gay.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johdar

      Question for you, Gunny- When did you "choose" to be straight? Was it when you were a toddler? Maybe as a tween? Was it as a Teen? More than likely you never actually made any sort of choice as to who you were attracted to. It is the same for gays. They don't have a choice. Get over it already.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry Lemieux

      @GySgtG makes a valid argument. Behavioral characteristics are not the same as physical characteristics. Since you cannot dispute the obvious, you choose to ignore it, a trait common among the so called “better educated Liberals and Democrats.”

      August 11, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. mikewimberly

    Leave it to degerates to see a moment of tremendous growth as one of a disgust. Dig deep, jarhead/sailorman, and you'll find it's really just self-loathing. That's what you need to explore instead of your puerile hissy-fit of disgust. .... Just sayin'

    August 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • smitvict

      The b igots are out today. Being gay is a "choice" and we should treat those who make that "choice" as second class citizens. Same arguments from the racists when Truman integrated the military.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • scorpioman

      Hey mikewim, and where exactly did you take your degree in psychiatry from?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. John N Florida

    I love all these excuse for why the greatest military in the world can't even handle an insignificant detail like gays serving. I hope we never have to fight the Israelis.
    It'd be a shame to see all these macho loud mouths get their butt kicked by an army that has had, knowingly, gays serving for decades.\
    I guess we DON'T have the greatest Army in the world if they can lose focus on mission so easily.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • J R Brown

      We have the greatest standing Army and military capabilities in the history of human civilization....what we don't have is the will to use them to the best of their abilities. Our "greatest Army" is contiunally confounded not by an enemy but by the potlical agenda of its so-called leader....and thus, by extension, the general populace.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jerry

    We are doomed if the defense of our country is now in the hands of LGBT political correctness. God help us!

    August 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      You're right. Wanting people to be nice, respectful of others, and not be bigots is a terrible thing.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. maltytasker

    Most important thing is, can she do the job? If the answer is yes, then she is the right choice for that position.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cadecker

    good way to lure them out....let them know its safe to come out

    August 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James PDX

    Mark40, Just because it would destroy you as a human being, I hope some day your life is saved by a gay person.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • lawrence

      see here's the thing....i dont go around telling people "look at me , im straight" why do gay people have to go out of there way to say look at me im gay ? it to make ones self feel good about themselves ?...seriously i could never understand this....who gives a good rats ass what you point is why do you have to put it out there ?...kinda of think you must have serious emotional problems running around inside.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Probably already has been saved by a gay person somewhere down the line; people working on vaccines, people making syringes and needles to give those shots, people administering these shots, the list is endless....

      August 11, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • fearnogod

      He has NO idea what doctor, banker, nurse, minister, etc was gay, when he used them, He's just down right bigoted...

      August 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • fearnogod

      He has no idea how many gay people have already been good to him...He's a hater...

      August 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missaness

      I hate the fact that I cannot LIKE this comment. But seriously. Awesome comment.

      August 12, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat)©

    So she's "openly" gay. So the hell what. If this had not even been mentioned, how different would your comments be ? All the ones on here talking there trash, would be all over themselves congratulating her, and as soon as they found otherwise, would be attempting to take the good things they said back.
    I sure hope you enjoy your lives in those holes.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TrueGrissel

    Wasn't the General in charge of Abin Grad prison the first?

    August 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AT

    Leave her alone and let her do her job!

    August 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. James PDX

    I know some guys who are attracted to large women. Is that a choice, or were they born that way? Are they perverted because they choose to be with someone who isn't considered the norm?

    August 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • John-117

      Would you say the same thing if two siblings wanted to date?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      That was the most pointless comment today. Irrelevant. We are talking about people who are immorale, not people of color, or people who are tall or short. We are talking morality

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


      August 11, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
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