WASHINGTON -- Brigadier General Tammy S. Smith, U.S. Army Reserve, will be one of the Capital Pride Parade’s Grand Marshals when it steps off on Saturday, June 8.
She joins Lynda Carter, who was announced last week as the Parade’s Super Grand Marshal.
Smith made history in August 2012 when her wife, Tracey Hepner, placed a general’s star on her shoulder. With that simple act, Smith became the first openly gay or lesbian flag officer to serve in the United States military. Her promotion occurred less than one year after the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."
An Oregon native, Smith was commissioned in 1986 as an Army Second Lieutenant, graduating from the University of Oregon Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Smith was selected for Brigadier General after having served in the Army for 26 years, including tours of duty in Afghanistan, Panama, Costa Rica, the Pentagon, and numerous stateside posts.
Her awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit medal, the Bronze Star, and her senior parachutist wings. She holds a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix. She is a graduate of the Army War College.
Tracey Hepner, Smith’s wife, is a co-founder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition, a non-profit military family support organization. Hepner was invited to sit with first lady Michelle Obama at the 2013 State of the Union Address in recognition of her tireless work in support of LGBT military families.
In a March 2013 interview, Smith discussed the significance of her promotion: “Leadership is about being a role model. I don’t think I’m a role model because I’m gay. I believe I’m a role model because I adhere to Army values by being true to my authentic self.” She has been featured in the Oregon Quarterly magazine and More magazine’s 2013 Fierce List, which included 50 women who made brave stands. She and Hepner, who were married in Washington, DC in March 2012, were also featured in Out magazine’s Love Issue.
Smith is the recipient of the 2013 Advocacy Award from Out and Equal Workplace Advocates. Smith was also recognized with the Courage Award from Knights Out, an organization of West Point alumni, staff and faculty who are united in supporting the rights of LGBT soldiers to openly serve their country. Smith is especially proud that her hometown of Oakland, Ore. hosted a congratulatory, affirming reception in honor of her promotion.
“We are honored to include Brigadier General Tammy S. Smith as one of our grand marshals for 2013," said Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director. "She exemplifies the meaning of a superhero and her story is a great example of the progress made following the repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'!”
The Capital Pride Parade travels 1.5 miles through the Dupont and Logan Circle neighborhoods of northwest Washington. The Parade is expected to attract more than 100,000 spectators. It will include more than 170 contingents, floats, vehicles, walkers and entertainment. It will feature local and national businesses, Capital Pride Heroes and Engendered Spirit awardees, politicians, community groups and organizations, drag queens, dogs and much more.
More information about Capital Pride is HERE.