The U.S. Army Says Hello to Its First Openly Gay GeneralS

Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith has become the U.S. Army's first openly gay general after being promoted from colonel on Friday at Arlington National Cemetary. Smith is the highest-ranking gay or lesbian officer to acknowledge her sexuality during service, and her promotion comes nearly a year after the reversal of "don't ask, don't tell." Smith's wife, Tracey Hepner, pinned Smith's star insignia on her during the ceremony, which was sort of a huge deal because, before the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," Smith and Hepner couldn't appear together as a military couple during official functions.

Though Smith says she recognizes the social significance of her promotion, she insists that her duties as a newly-minted brigadier general are of more immediate importance. "All of those facts [about the social significance of her promotion] are irrelevant," Smith said after the ceremony. "I don't think I need to be focused on that. What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries."

With promotion, U.S. Army welcomes first openly gay general [LA Times]