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Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Chief of a US Military Branch

FILE - Eric Fanning takes his seat to testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be secretary of the Army on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 21, 2016.

The U.S. Senate Tuesday unanimously confirmed Eric Fanning to be chief of the U.S. Army, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military branch.

President Barack Obama nominated Fanning eight months ago. But Senate approval was held up over plans to transfer detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to an Army base in Kansas.

Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts dropped his opposition to a vote on Fanning after the White House assured him it was too late to move the prisoners.

Fanning has served in a number of senior positions since joining the Pentagon in 2009, which include acting Air Force Secretary, deputy undersecretary of the Navy, and Army chief management officer.