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. the fear

    Jesus taught to love. What's wrong with some of y'all...........

    August 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jarhead

    GySgtG, time to GTFO my Corps. Your bigotry is not welcome anymore.

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

      My corps for 26 years, and now a work for the corps as a GS. So stand down boot.

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

    GySgtG, hang it up, get outta my Corps. Your bigotry is not welcome anymore.

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

      Ill be around the Corps
      long after you are gone

      August 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      too bad the corp is filled with hateful little people like him. what an arrogant haughty person

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

    I now have more respect for the Military.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Old Buck Sergeant

    The first openly gay female general or admiral, now that's a hoot. She is just another of the "Lesbian Mafia" at the Pentagon.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Randy

    Why do lesbians look like men?

    August 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John-117

    Well I guess the terrorist win

    August 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. vincent

    I guess it is safe to assume that Tammy went from MAJOR disaster to GENERAL disorder, and is now enjoying the FRUITS of her labour:(

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

      you = waste of skin

      August 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Leslie

    She's lovely. And to think – all you guys missed out on that... No wonder you're upset!

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

    3 more soldiers gunned down in afghanistan by our supposed "allies" – and THIS is what the military finds most important? The sleeping preferences of an ugly General? Really????!!! It seems to me that the command has their priorities WAY out of whack.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      They promoted somebody who earned it. It's you who has their priorities out of whack, mrl.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alan

    I am so glad to be out of the Army. This is absolute BS. As far as anyone saying bigotry most of the military especially the men in 11B feel the same way. At most let the gays only serve in the Navy where they belong.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      we're glad you're out of the army too. we don't need throwbacks

      August 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Crocker

      Air Force not the Navy.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeroy

      Alan, I was with you . . . until you made that crack about the Navy . . . out loud. 😉

      August 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gold Dragon©™

    Hello everyone.

    I am an air force veteran and I am female. And I would respectfully salute her if I were to actually meet her. Congratulations on her promotion. There are few female generals in all the military branches.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Crocker

      There's probably a reason for that.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Portland tony

    I see the CNN robo censor was hard at work based on the simple meaningless blogs it allowed published. If you are going to write an article that maybe is a little controversial, you have to allow some adult answers!

    August 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dick gosinya

    Any surprise it's a woman? NO!!!!

    August 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pat carr

    Despite all the 50 IQ knuckledragger/throwback comments foaming with anger and hatred, i am very glad for this woman who has served our nation well and wish her well in her career.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
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