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. janetlaw

    Welcome to the 20th century, America

    August 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • grafixer

      Welcome to Liberty and Justice for ALL.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • CorrectorMan

      21st century*

      August 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike8

      With Obama at the helm, this country doesn't stand a chance of surviving another 10 years.
      Everyone with a brain knows this... so be sure to go tell your other brainy friends to vote for Romney this year. In todays, case, going back to black could be the death of the USA and the ruination of your childrens future. And where is the official birth certificate? Is Obama and illegal alien? Is this why he wants to open the floodgates of Mexico? Or does he just want he Mexican people to come over to the USA and vote for him?

      August 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GySgtG

    She lost the resect of the troops. They will follow orders but never resect her. Most find her disgusting.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      Why would they resect her? Oh, nevermind, I forgot that intolerant bigots spell badly.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Casey

      GySgtG – How does someone show, "Resect?"

      August 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • atroy

      R-E-S-S-E-C-T
      Find out what it means to me
      R-E-S-S-E-C-T
      take out the S and C
      RESET

      August 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • HadIt

      Would you please show us the results of your poll?

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

      How do you know that? Did you ask every active duty soldier in the Army? No, of course you different. You're just just solipsistic and arrogant, just like the rest of your kind.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. grafixer

    No. We are becoming the nation that we were founded to be... as in... Liberty and Justice for ALL – not just white men and their buddies that think the same narrow way they do. Seriously. Grow up. Be an American.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      And Christians. You forgot Christians.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • celt

      Absolutely correct. Hate is NOT a family value!!!

      August 11, 2012 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
    • nabun

      grafixer, your a patriot.

      August 12, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. grafixer

    Sad that you carry such prejudice. Must be just hateful to look in the mirror every day and see what you do looking back.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. N C Wafer

    I am so proud of her. I am sure she has went through the same hell as the rest of them have to get to that rank!!! Gay is not a choice for all of you, that haven't the foggiest clue. Who in their right mind would choose to live that way and go against the bigots? I hope there are many more gay people come foward and stand up for their rights!

    August 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • saddad

      clearly, you've never worked for a lesbian Army officer – I have several times and all were horrid experiences.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike in SA

    Congratulations, Ma'am, from this old retired MSG.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Peter

    Well it's about time! And I say this as a straight male. It's time for the US to live up to it's promise of liberty and justice for all and end the bigotry and hatred.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandy oh

      Well put peter

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

      Peter – Well said!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Casey

    Bigotry is not a U.S. tradition.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • HadIt

      Oh, I don't know about that. You may be deluding yourself.

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

      Bigotry is ingrained in the fabric of America. I've lived it, Italians, Jews, Irish, Blacks, Catholics have lived it. It is ugly and repugnant to treat anyone, the way minorities have been treated in this country. It still exists, but it is more sutile.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • overed

      Unfortunately Casey, its very much a US tradition.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • wildone

      Sure it is. Bigotry has a long and proud tradition in the US. Why, way back when there was: "The only good indian is a dead indian" and other quaint sayings supporting America's bigotry toward anyone who wasn't "mainstream" white-Anglo-Protestant. This country was founded on it, so don't fool yourself.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Ralph in Orange Park, FL

      Since when?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • J R Brown

      lol....oh, yes it is.

      I see you have very little education about American history. It is rife with bigotry.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      It is a US tradition, just not one we are proud of or brag about. Bigotry is rampant all over this nation, but fortunately in an ever shrinking minority.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Yes, it is a US tradition, just not one we are proud of or brag about. Big otry is rampant all over this nation, but fortunately in an ever shrinking minority.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      it isn't?

      August 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bahhb66

      "Casey

      Bigotry is not a U.S. tradition."

      Really? Seems to me its one of our more popular traditions.

      I will never understand why anyone gives a crap what anyone else does.
      Your behavior has zero effect on my life,unless of course you choose to violate me in some manner.
      If a person chooses to have relations with a person of the same gender....how does that hurt me in any way?
      It doesn't,
      Some people just need someone to hate,and anyone who isn't like them will fill that need.Or in some cases they will be self loathing versions of whatever they hate.
      Someday,probably long after I am dead and gone this country may move beyond its hateful ways,but I really fear we wont.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • RBW

      Uh.....actually it is. Not saying that it is right, but it is nonetheless. Just read American history.

      August 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terencio

      I think it is. I don't think it SHOULD be, but history tells us it is. We may not like it, but our PRESENT also tells us that bigotry has a long, LONG tradition in the USA.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
    • billywingartenson

      unfortunately bigotry is a USA tradition. blacks, Jewsz, asians and gays, hispanics etc

      interestingly enough the USA is the most rleligious nation in the western world.

      and was also the second to last to end slavery and the only one to need a war to do it

      Religions – much of it – is the curse of humanity, but it does line the pockets of so many religious leaders

      August 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sandy oh

    Congratulations General.Smith! You are an amazing person and have accomplished great things.anyone who.says or thinks otherwise obviously.does.not.know.you.as.a.person..small.town.girl.done.good! Oakland, Oregon is.VERY proud of you!

    August 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • TXJake

      Wow Sandy: You.do.not.know.how.to.punctuate. The previous sentence was typed while rolling my eyes at whatever you were attempting to do with all of the periods in your post.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • owner

      gays should be castrated both male and female, and same for priests who claim to be celibate

      August 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Obviously during her long carear her superiors found her job performance to be outstanding or she wouldn't have gotten this promotion. Why are you right wingers upset that an outstanding soldier has been promoted.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James PDX

    Rascal Rabble, he also owned slaves and wouldn't let his wife vote. What was your point again? You also hate blacks and women?

    August 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Peter

    I disagree. I think it's still wrong to hate and discriminate and still right to respect and love people for who they are.

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

      No hate. Just disgust

      August 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name s kel

      ok gunny you must first hate to disgust.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. rnarozniak

    America lets you live here

    August 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lance corporal

    let the hate fest flow

    if you care how someone else loves or has s e x YOU have the problem

    August 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Casey

    loleveryday – An army of gays would be better than an army of bigots.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      Not bigotry, it is morality. Order and discipline and morale.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • ron in ca

      All the straights people should encourage a gay military. Solves several problems at once.

      August 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
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