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. James PDX

    That's not true, Casey. Gays are usually pretty friendly and thoughtful whereas all you have to do is give a nice hate speech about the enemy to the bigot army and they'll kill without question.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Donnie the Lion

    I'll simplify it even more....if you don't like gays or lesbians, you are afraid or stupid (or both). I've never met a bigot who didn't have fear in their his or her heart. The disgust of a bigot is not rooted in morality or rational thought, it is rooted in weakness. General Smith could kick your ass, and deep down inside, you know it, and you don't like it.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joe

    I bet now that this creature is out,there are women who will have to submit to her or get demoted.......

    August 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • kris

      jou, you are an idiot.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vegas777

      Joe....you're an idiot!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vegas777

      Ha ha ha. Well said Kris.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Casey

    Rascal Rabble – Do you have a source for your claim that George Washington condemned gays?

    August 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GySgtG

    Yes sir, morality has died.

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

      Whose morality? God's? God killed every child and aborted every fetus on the planet during one of his many hissy fits. Was that your kind of morality?

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

      Morality died a long time ago, Gunny. The ship has been drifting, rudderless and without power. There's a storm coming.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      no, morality is still alive. we see it in, among other things, people fighting against bigotry

      August 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      If have an irrational bias against people who have done you no harm is "moral," then good riddance to it.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Figures since you're the one sticking a knife in it.

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

      GaySgt: What does morality have to do with this story?

      August 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIke

      indeed

      August 13, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. sammywatinka

    Kavita...did it take you very long to think of your elegant and thought provoking statement?

    August 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jungleboo

    Congratulations, Tammy Smith! Thank you for demonstrating your strength of character to he world. It is a downhill slide now for the bigots whose mindset has damaged many hardworking and talented individuals in this nation. You are a leader first class!

    August 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • jungleboo

      typo -"to the world"...

      August 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. government cheese

    If I turn gay, can I get a promotion also?

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

      No, because you're incompetent and nobody likes you.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Casey

    GySgtG – Yes sir, bigotry is dying.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      Make no mistake it is disgust not bigotry, gays will never be welcome,

      August 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johdar

      Gunny, replace the word "gays" with "blacks," "Jews," "Hispanic," "Muslim," "Asian," or any other minority and it poroves that your "disgust" is truly hatred and therefor makes you a bigot.

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

    welcome to you get what you ask for,and Obama needs to realize that the government can not get involved in what the boy scouts has decided. Believe me with the economy in this country in the condition it's in and the middle east about to go up in flames there are more important things for him to focus on.The gay comunity is a very small percentage of the population of this country so there votes are not going to get him back in office,this feel good and be politically correct society is messed up.Get the economy going and strengthen our military,pull the rest of the troops out of Iraq and Afganistan.And get ready for the next big fight and this next war won't be as fast and easy as Iraq, The United States is doing what Russia did in Afganistan and as much as the U.S.would like to think they are winning they are not,and if you don't like it they the Arabs are going to get killed but another will replace them,until the final battle.So like Jeremiah the prophet told Israel,that if this nation which is called by my name will repent and turn from there sins,I the Lord will heal them and restore them.If not then more judement is on the way !!!!!

    August 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      God also aborted every fetus on the planet once.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jake

    Best headline of the day! Congrats General Smith!

    August 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James PDX

    Yes, because liking women is perverted. Wait, I like women!!! Why don't you? Also, a foxhole full of guys probably mostly like women, and it doesn't seem to be a problem for them.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stephen in VA

    Who cares whom she's married to???? All that matters is whether she can do her job.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      She will never be truely effective without the respect of the troops

      August 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee Downie

      If the General can do the job, let her get on with it. The troops respect "can do" officers.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. bigfoot

    General C. Muncher.

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

    I dont hate, i don't gay bash. But i wont call the cops either.

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

      Gunny,

      I bet you would feel right at home in the South after the Civil War right up to the end of the Jim Crow laws and the beginning of equality for blacks in America.

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