Army’s gay civilian leader calls his promotion ‘remarkable’

In this Jan. 21, 2016 file photo, Eric Fanning testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The committee has confirmed Fanning, the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service.

In this Jan. 21, 2016 file photo, Eric Fanning testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The committee has confirmed Fanning, the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service. [Photo: Susan Walsh, AP]

WASHINGTON (AP) — Army Secretary Eric Fanning calls his elevation to the job “remarkable.” Fanning is the first gay head of a military service branch.

Of his sexuality, Fanning tells NBC’s “Today” he initially preferred to have people talk about his qualifications. But he says, “Now, I embrace it.”

Asked if he’s had to any endure any harsh treatment at the Pentagon, Fanning says, “Careless comments, sure.”

But he says he hasn’t needed “to confront anyone.”

The 47-year-old Fanning tells NBC his sexuality “certainly has become more of a story as each rung in the career has taken place.”

He says he loves his job, but expects he’ll likely be leaving after the Obama administration ends. Fanning says that by next Jan. 21, “I imagine myself on a beach someplace.”

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