Army Promotes 1st Openly Gay General 27-year veteran Tammy Smith served in Afghanistan, Costa Rica By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Aug 12, 2012 7:08 AM CDT 59 comments Comments The US Army has welcomed its first openly gay general with the promotion of Tammy Smith. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Less than a year after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Army has promoted Tammy Smith to the rank of brigadier general, making her the first openly gay general in the US military, reports the Los Angeles Times. Smith stood with her commanding officer at the promotion ceremony, then her father was introduced along with her wife, Tracey Hepner. "This part is a little fuzzy for me, because I have to confess, I got choked up," said one Army veteran and friend of the couple who attended the event. "People have been working toward this moment for decades." A 26-year veteran who has served in Afghanistan and Costa Rica, Smith downplayed the social significance of her groundbreaking promotion. "I don't think I need to be focused on that," she said. "What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries."