ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – On Friday, August 10, the U.S. Army promoted its first openly-gay general officer. Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith received her stars in a private ceremony held at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The event also marked Smith’s coming out, although the 26-year Army veteran told Stars and Stripes, “I don’t think I need to be focused on that. What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”
Smith’s promotion, and coming out, occurs less than a year after the Pentagon ended its Don’t ask, Don’t Tell policy, under which service members faced discharge if they admitted being homosexual. A veteran of service in Afghanistan, Panama, and elsewhere overseas, Smith serves as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve. Her wife, Tracey Hepner, is founder and Director of Operations for the Military Partners and Families Coalition, an advocacy group for LGBT service members. Hepner presented Smith with her general’s stars at the Arlington ceremony.