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. government cheese

    Is there a class I can take to become gay and get promoted?

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

      No, I'm pretty sure class would do you no good at all.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Leeroy

    She said it's time to focus on "Army Values"? The Army Values mentions the word "moral" three times. Of course, the Army hasn't taught anyone what the word "moral" means. Thus, the problems in the military and in society these days. Very sad situation our leaders have placed us in.

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

      You are simply an ignorant person.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      My faith says she is "moral", and my faith is just as legitimate as your faith.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      So I'm guessing you're implying one can't be gay and moral at the same time. Tell ya what–I've known gay atheists that are a lot more moral than many so-called christians.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I reject your definition of morals. You don't decide what morals are for the rest of the country. This fine woman has served our country for years and she is a VERY moral person.

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

      Unfortunate so many people try to deny what is taught in the Bible and other holy books. That is where morals are taught. But so many want to make up their own morals. Read about Sod dom and Gum orah.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne

      Well Sir, Lobster, Pork, Divorce (w/o adultry) and mixing fibers in an article of clothing all the same result.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      Nope, Wayne, never done any of that. And, I've never told a lie either. 🙂 Seriously, you know your scriptures and you know sin is wrong. And this General is openly condeming herself to the world. Why would she do that? Do you proclaim your sins to the world? I know I don't. Of course, we all commit them. But that is between us and our maker . . . and possibly our religious leader depending on the seriousness of the sin and our religion. So, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. You support her open confession to the world so she can try to gain support for her sins?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ross

    The only hate spewing I see is the left trying to bash on the right when they aren't even here saying anything...lol.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      Yes they are. Their posts are all these boards. Why are you lying, Ross?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GySgtG

    If you think people accept gays ask yourself this. Hypothetical, if they invented a vacine tomorrow for women to prevent their kids from being gay. Do you think we would have gays anymore. No because people nt normal children.

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

      If you think people accept bigots ask yourself this. Hypothetical, if they invented a vacine tomorrow for women to prevent their kids from being bigots. Do you think we would have bigots anymore. No because people want normal children.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      You know i am right. Decent people dont want gay kids. Oh you can try to convince yourself otherwise but you know every family would take the shot.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      And yet I was able to use your own argument to prove that it applies to you. Which is why you sound so angry right now, what with being forced to eat your own ignorant and hateful words.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      then also let's invent a vaccine for religious people so they are no longer delusional

      August 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanW

      GySgtG, hopefully they will first invent a vaccine to keep people from having kids like you. But seriously, I think that most parents have the kids they have, raise them as best they can and once they are grown, let them live the lives they want, being the people that they are. Why is that so hard for you to accept? Better gay than a skinhead. Better gay than a bigot. Better gay and happy than gay and afraid to say it. Better gay and honest than straight and a crook. Better gay and sober than straight and a drunk. Better straight and honest than gay and a crook. Don't you see, GySgtG, than being gay isn't really the important thing?

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

      Well, genius, since that shot already exists for lesbians (dexamethazone), and lesbians continue to be born, I think we know the answer. I'm glad the Army has grown up and accepted that merit is the thing that really counts. It's obvious that Marines like you haven't.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. bigfoot

    Why did they delete my post? All I said was General C. Muncher.

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

      They deleted mine, too. All I said was , "This General knows how to take down the enemy lickety-slit."

      August 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • the fear

      hahahahaha..................

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

      Alright Let's Celebrate With Some Chicken Sandwiches

      August 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      They also deleted the one where I said, "Just tell this general that the enemy are all pu$$ies and she'll lick-em good."

      August 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lisa

    It's about freaking time!

    August 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. deerhorn

    Most "straight" women who support gays don't realize that female population in the world is higher than male, and they are doing great job decreasing male population. Women don't understand they react with emotion rather than reason.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      What? Decreasing the male popuation? That's just stupid. Women who choose not to procreate wouldn't have just had male children, dummy. And the reason there are fewer men is in large part because of war.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • noillusion

      Men don't understand they react with ego.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SCMama

      Thank you for "explaining" to me how I react....but next time, please save your idiotic drivel for someone who might actually take you seriously. Individuals like you are the reason the women react "emotionally" so often–we're simply trying to resist the urge to smack you.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marine8321

    Dikes will not be respected in the military. I will not salute her when if I see her. She is a filthy disgusting animal

    August 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      Well said.

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

      I Agree!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gadflie

      You're no Marine. Marines are honorable.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      Because she likes a woman's crotch? I take it that means you do not like women's crotches. I bet you think they're icky.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • GySgtG

      Gad,
      What do you know about Marines? Decent people dont condone immorale behavior. This Marine has said anything wrong. He just stated simple facts. Troops will not respect her.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      that's ok i won't respect you or your so-called "service" to our nation. you're probably a lousy, substandard soldier anyway

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

      "The salute is an expression that recognizes each other as a member of the profession of arms; that they have made a personal commitment of self-sacrifice to preserve our way of life. The salute is not simply an honor exchanged. It is a privileged gesture of respect and trust among soldiers."

      A salute is required by regulation. I am going to enjoy what happens to you for not following regs!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      If you want to continue being called a Marine, you will. You see, you don't get to pick and choose which regs you follow. You follow all of them, or your disrespectful butt winds up on the street with no job and a fun dishonorable discharge to explain. I don't get you Marines. At least Soldiers know how act like decent human beings.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Our Local CNN Blog Community:
    banasy
    chrissy
    CNN: nsaidi
    leeintulsa (In Rememberance)
    Joey Isotta – Fraschini
    s kel
    HIDE BEHIND
    little mister
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    Cesar Chorizo Champ of Chihuahua
    Jeff Frank
    If you would like to be added or removed, let me know. Trolls and "heat of the moment" screen name changers need not apply.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • sh!t face stink fart

      Hey Jeff, add me!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      Our Local CNN Blog Community? I don't get it. What is this blog community you speak of?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gold Dragon©™

      Good Evening Frank

      I would very much like to join the community. I unable to post often but do enjoy posting with these people.

      Are there any association dues?

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

    I have now just lost some respect for the U.S Military which i support 100%

    August 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • the fear

      And they have lost some respect for you. Congratulations, Tyler!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      who cares about your "respect". no go back to play xbox

      August 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    No General Smith, I refuse to donate sperm. Please Mr. Custer, I don't want to go.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lisa

    Marine8321- if you feel this way put your name, rank, unit, and duty location out there. It baffles me how individuals such as yourself are still practicing knuckle dragging.

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

      Only a fool who post his info on a blog like this. There are too many sick people like the general and demented supports like you.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mary

    I see my post got deleted. What I said is true tho. If your gonna rebuke Gods commands, you might as well go all the way. Hence, being a gay military officer in mans army

    August 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      God has commanded many immoral things. Have you not read Leviticus? Or Deuteronomy?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NODAT1

    so was she promoted because she earned it or was she promoted because a busy body in congress wanted a gay General just to "stick" it to the Military?

    August 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lisa

    GySgtG- It a shame that you don't know what hate means. Why the heck do you care what other people do? Maybe the thought of you with your wife disgusts me. Not so much I am straight to btw.The thought of you procreating disgusts me because you are passing on your legacy of hate to future generations.

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

      Poor lisa, here is the difference. I have led troops in combat. Been a Marine for 26 years. I know how we think and i understand our thoughts, our lifestyle, goals. This women is never going to be one of us. As for my personal life i am blessed. I have a great wife and three great kids. One doctor, one engineer, one miss teen (state left out) and i am rich now too. So nothing you say could get on my nerves.
      You will never understand what morality is.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      "You will never understand what morality is." neither will you. You're a hateful bigoted person. i'd rather have one of the general then a bunch like you. Yuck

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

      Well Said.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
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