Tammy Smith Becomes First Openly Gay General

On Friday at Arlington Cemetery, the US Army promoted its first openly gay general. Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith had her new star pinned on her by her wife Tracey at the ceremony.

A year ago the couple was unable to appear together at military functions until the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Smith is now the highest-ranking gay or lesbian officer to acknowledge her sexuality during service.

The couple married a year ago after dating for nine years. Tammy Smith’s wife, Tracey Hepner, was a part of the Pentagon’s review of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. During the review Defense Department officials could not speak to gay service members without outing them, so they turned to their partners.

Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith has pointed out that she understands the social significance of her promotion but would like to focus on “upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”

Smith’s father pinned one insignia on her epaulet before Smith’s wife Tracey placed the other.

Tammy Smith promoted to Brigadier General
Credit: LA Times