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Eric Fanning named first openly gay army secretary

After a long delay in the Senate, Fanning makes US history.

Justin Carissimo
New York
,Rachael Revesz
Wednesday 18 May 2016 14:14 BST
Eric Manning sits.
Eric Manning sits.

Eric Fanning was confirmed as the next Army secretary on Tuesday making him the highest-ranking openly gay official at the Pentagon in US history.

Fanning, 47, has served as a top official in the Air Force, Navy and as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s chief of staff.

President Barack Obama nominated Manning to the position last September, which was confirmed by Republican Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. Shortly before the confirmation, Senator Roberts congratulated Fanning for his achievement.

“He will be a tremendous leader as Army secretary and will do great by our soldiers at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley,” Roberts said in a statement. “I look forward to voting for Mr Fanning, who has always had my support for this position.”

The landmark achievement was praised by the Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

“Eric Fanning's historic confirmation today as secretary of the US Army is a demonstration of the continued progress toward fairness and equality in our nation’s armed forces,” Griffin said in a statement. “Eric Fanning has spent his career serving this nation with tireless dedication, skill and ability, and as secretary he will bring that same commitment to the men and women of the US Army.”

Secretary Carter also congratulated Fanning on Tuesday night.

“I want to congratulate Eric Fanning on his confirmation as secretary of the Army by the U.S. Senate,” Carter said in a statement.

“Eric is one of our country's most knowledgeable, dedicated, and experienced defense officials and I am confident he will make an exceptional secretary. Eric's experienced leadership will be an invaluable asset to the Army at this important moment. I appreciate his willingness to serve and his continued commitment to our men and women in uniform.”

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