Lieutenant Colonel (United States)

Please see "Lieutenant Colonel" for other countries which use this rank
Lieutenant Colonel is a rank of the United States armed forces which is currently used by the United States Army, United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, and United States National Guard. The United States Navy equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel is the rank of Commander. The insignia for a Lieutenant Colonel is a silver oak leaf, although there are subtle design differences between the Army/Air Force version and the insignia used by the Marine Corps.

History

The rank of Lieutenant Colonel was first created during the American Revolutionary War when the position was held by aides to Regiment Colonels, and was sometimes known as "Lieutenant to the Colonel". The rank of Lieutenant Colonel had existed in the British Army since at least the 16th century.

During the 19th century, Lieutenant Colonel was often a terminal rank for many officers, since the rank of "full Colonel" was considered extremely prestigious reserved only for the most successful of officers. Upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, the rank of Lieutenant Colonel became much more common and was used as a "stepping stone" for officers who commanded small regiments or battalions and were expected, by default, to be promoted to full Colonel once the manpower of a regiment grew in strength. Such was the case of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain who commanded a Maine Regiment as both a Lieutenant Colonel and later as a Colonel.

After the Civil War ended, those officers remaining in the United States armed forces found Lieutenant Colonel to again be a permanent terminal rank while many Lieutenant Colonels were raised to higher positions in a brevet status. Such was the case with George Armstrong Custer who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Regular Army but held the brevet rank of Major General.

The 20th century saw Lieutenant Colonel in its present day status although, during the 1930s, many officers again found the rank to be terminal as the rank of Colonel was reserved for only a select few officers. Such was not the case during World War II, when Lieutenant Colonel became one of the most commonly held officer ranks in the Army of the United States.

Modern usage

In the U.S. Army, a Lieutenant Colonel typically commands a battalion-sized unit (300 to 1,000 soldiers), with a Command Sergeant Major as principal non-commissioned officer assistant. A Lieutenant Colonel may also serve as a brigade or task force Executive Officer. In the Air Force, a Lieutenant Colonel is generally a director of operations or a squadron commander in the operations group, a squadron commander in the mission support and maintenance groups, or a squadron commander or division chief in a medical group. Lieutenant colonels may also serve on general staffs and may be the heads of some wing staff departments.

The rank of Lieutenant Colonel is usually gained in the 21st century U.S. military after 17-22 years of service as an officer. As most officers are eligible to retire after 20 years active service, it is the most common rank at which career officers retire.

Terminology

While written as "Lt. Colonel" in orders and signature blocks, as a courtesy, Lieutenant Colonels are addressed as "Colonel" verbally and in the salutation of correspondence. The US Army uses the three letter abbreviation LTC. The US Air Force uses the abbreviation Lt Col.

Irreverent slang terms for the rank in the US military are "Light Colonel," "Short Colonel," and "Bottlecap Colonel". "Bottlecap Colonel" comes from the old fashioned metal crimped caps of beer and soda bottles which resemble the silver oak leaf insignia.

Famous American Lieutenant Colonels

Lieutenant Colonel (Lieutenant-Colonel in English from the French grade's spelling) is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine corps and air forces of the world, typically ranking above a Major and below a Colonel.
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United States Armed Forces is the military service of the United States and is structured into five branches.
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S.

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The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. Like all armies, it has the primary responsibility for land-based military operations.
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United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. Previously part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947.
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The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States military responsible for providing power projection from the sea,[1] utilizing the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces.
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United States National Guard is a reserve forces component of the United States Army (the Army National Guard) and the United States Air Force (the Air National Guard). Both are maintained through the National Guard Bureau, a semi-independent subordinate entity of the United States
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United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations. The U.S. Navy currently has over 340,000 personnel on active duty and nearly 128,000 in the Navy Reserve.
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Commander is a military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the military, particularly in police and law enforcement.
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Colonel (IPA: /ˈkɜrnəl/) is a military rank of a commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every country in the world.
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Lieutenant-Colonel is a British rank used in several Commonwealth countries superior to Major and subordinate to Colonel. The comparable naval rank is Commander and the comparable rank in many Commonwealth air forces is Wing Commander.
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As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 through 1600.

See also: 16th century in literature

Events

1500s

  • 1500s: Mississippian culture disappears.

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The 19th Century (also written XIX century) lasted from 1801 through 1900 in the Gregorian calendar. It is often referred to as the "1800s.
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American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major war between the United States (the "Union") and eleven Southern slave states which declared that they had a right to secession and formed the Confederate States of America, led by President Jefferson Davis.
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Stepping stones can mean:-
  • Stones placed across a shallow river so people can step from each to the next and so cross the river without getting their feet wet.
  • Figurative derived meanings: see island hopping.

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battalion is a military unit of around 500-1000 men usually consisting of between two and six companies and typically commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. Several battalions are grouped to form a regiment or a brigade.
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Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (September 8, 1828 – February 24, 1914) was a college professor from Maine who volunteered to join the Union Army without the benefit of any formal military education, and became a highly respected and decorated Union officer during the American
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In the U.K. and U.S. military, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank.
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George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 – June 25, 1876) was a United States Army cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Promoted at an early age to a temporary war-time rank of Major General, and later made a permanent Lt.
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The Regular Army is a name given to the permanent force of a country's army that is maintained during peacetime.

Countries that use the term include:
  • Australian Army
  • Indian Army
  • New Zealand Army
  • British Army (United Kingdom)
  • United States Army

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For the 17th century Cromwellian regime see Rule of the Major-Generals

Major General or Major-General is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of Sergeant Major General.
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twentieth century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1901 and ended on December 31, 2000, according to the Gregorian calendar. Some historians consider the era from about 1914 to 1991 to be the Short Twentieth Century.
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Allied powers:
 Soviet Union
 United States
 United Kingdom
 China
 France
...et al. Axis powers:
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 Italy
...et al.
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The Army of the United States is the official name for the conscription (U.S. term: draft) force of the United States Army that may be raised at the discretion of the United States Congress in the event of
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battalion is a military unit of around 500-1000 men usually consisting of between two and six companies and typically commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. Several battalions are grouped to form a regiment or a brigade.
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A Sergeant Major is a rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In the United States, there are various degrees of Sergeant Major (Command SGM, Sergeant Major of the Army), but they are
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A non-commissioned officer (sometimes noncommissioned officer), also known as an NCO or Noncom, is an enlisted member of an armed force who has been given authority by a commissioned officer.
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brigade is a military unit that is typically composed of two to five regiments or battalions, depending on the era and nationality of a given army. Usually, a brigade is a sub-component of a division, a larger unit consisting of two or more brigades; however, some brigades are
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task force (TF) is a temporary unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. Originally introduced by the United States Navy, the term has now caught on for general usage and is a standard part of NATO terminology.
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While executive officer literally refers to a person responsible for the performance of duties involved in running an organization, the exact meaning of
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