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Encyclopedia > Colonel
Common Military Ranks
Navies
(English-speaking
world)
Armies and
some Air Forces
Air Forces
(Commonwealth)
Admiral of the Fleet Field Marshal Marshal of the Air Force
Admiral General Air Chief Marshal
Vice Admiral Lieutenant General Air Marshal
Rear Admiral Major General Air Vice Marshal
Commodore Brigadier Air Commodore
Captain Colonel Group Captain
Commander Lieutenant Colonel Wing Commander
Lieutenant Commander Major Squadron Leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant Lieutenant Flying Officer
Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Warrant Officer
Petty Officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading Rate Corporal Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman

Colonel (IPA: /ˈkɜrnəl/) is a military rank of a commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every country in the world. The rank of Colonel is one of the oldest in existence, dating as far back as the time of the Roman Empire, and it is also even used in some police departments. Look up Colonel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the use of the term rank. ... Admiral of the Fleet is a supreme naval position that has existed in historical navies and still exists in several modern-day navies. ... Note: This article is about the military usage of the word marshal. For other usages, see the end of this article. ... Marshal of the Air Force is both a generic term for the most senior rank in an air force, equivalent to Field Marshal or Fleet Admiral and, in some air forces, a rank title. ... For other uses, see Admiral (disambiguation). ... General is a military rank, in most nations the highest rank, although some nations have the higher rank of Field Marshal. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns in RAF No 1 Dress uniform Air Chief Marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a senior air officer rank in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom As well as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and air forces of many Commonwealth... Vice Admiral is a naval rank of three star level, equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority. ... Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. ... An air marshals sleeve/shoulder insignia Air Marshal (Air Mshl or AM) is a rank in the Royal Air Force. ... The term Rear Admiral originated from the days of Naval Sailing Squadrons, and can trace its origins to the British Royal Navy. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... An Air Vice Marshals sleeve/shoulder insignia An Air Vice Marshals command flag Air Vice Marshal is the third most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force today, after the inactivation of Marshal of the Royal Air Force as a substantive rank in peacetime during defence cuts... Commodore is a military rank used in some navies for officers whose position exceeds that of a Captain, but is less than that of a Flag Officer. ... Brigadier (IPA pronunciation: ) is a military rank, the meaning of which has a considerable variation. ... An Air Commodoress sleeve/shoulder insignia Air Commodore is the fourth most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force today, after the deactivation of Marshal of the Royal Air Force as a substantive rank in peacetime during defence cuts of the 1990s. ... . Captain, is the name most often given in naval circles to the NATO rank code of OF-5. ... A Group Captains sleeve/shoulder insignia Group Captain (Gp Capt in the RAF, GPCAPT in the RNZAF and RAAF, G/C in the former RCAF) is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. ... Commander is a military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... A Wing Commanders sleeve/shoulder insignia A Wing Commanders command flag Wing Commander is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. ... In the Royal Navy, United States Navy and United States Coast Guard, a lieutenant commander (lieutenant-commander or Lt Cdr in the RN) is a commissioned officer superior to a lieutenant and inferior to a commander. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... A Squadron Leaders sleeve/shoulder insignia Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr in the RAF, SQNLDR in the RNZAF and RAAF and S/L in the former RCAF) is a commissioned rank in some air forces. ... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... A Captain in armies, air forces and marine forces, is a rank an army or air force rank with a NATO rank code of OF-2. ... A Flight Lieutenants sleeve/shoulder insignia Flight Lieutenant (abbreviated as Flt Lt and pronounced as flight lef-tenant, see Lieutenant) is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries. ... A Lieutenant, Junior Grade, is a division officer in the United States Navy. ... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For Warrant Officers in the United States military, see Warrant Officer (United States). ... For Warrant Officers in the United States military, see Warrant Officer (United States). ... For Warrant Officers in the United States military, see Warrant Officer (United States). ... A Petty Officer is a noncommissioned officer or equivalent in many navies. ... For other uses, see Sergeant (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Sergeant (disambiguation). ... Leading Rating (or Leading Rate) is the most senior of the junior rates in the British Royal Navy. ... This article is about the military rank. ... This article is about the military rank. ... This article is about a military rank. ... A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank (equivalent to Nato Rank Grades OR-1 to OR-3 depending on the force served in). ... Aircraftman (AC) (or Aircraftwoman (ACW)) is the lowest rank in the Royal Air Force, ranking below Leading Aircraftman and having a NATO rank code of OR-1. ... This article is about the use of the term rank. ... In military organizations, a commissioned officer is a member of the service who derives authority directly from a sovereign power, and as such holds a commission from that power. ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ...


Today, a Colonel is usually a military title rated as the highest, or the second-highest field rank below the general grades. In some small military forces, it can be the highest rank held. This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

Contents



Origins

The term colonel derives from Latin columnella 'small column'. However, it was never actually a Roman rank. The system of ranks in the Roman military was quite different. As a rank the term arose in the late sixteenth century Italy where it referred to the officer in charge of a column (Italian colonna, plural colonne) or field force. The term is first attested as colonnello, but it is perhaps a truncation of something like capitano colonnello 'captain of the column, the captain designated to command the column'. In this context colonna seems to refer to a force marching in column, rather than to a battle formation — a battle or battlation of pike. For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... A modern reconstruction of a Roman centurion around 70 A modern reconstruction of a Roman miles, (10-240) The Roman legion (from Latin , from lego, legere, legi, lectus — to collect) was the basic military unit of the ancient Roman army. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ...


As the office of Colonel became an established practice, the Colonel became the senior Captain in a group of companies which were all sworn to observe his personal authority — to be ruled or regimented by him. This regiment was to some extent embodied in a contract and set of written rules, his regiment or standing regulation(s). By extension, the group of companies subject to a Colonel's regiment came to be referred to as his regiment as well. British regiment A regiment is a military unit, consisting of a variable number of battalions - commanded by a colonel. ... A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 100-200 soldiers. ...


With the shift from primarily mercenary to primarily national armies in the course of the seventeenth century, a Colonel (normally a member of the aristocracy) became a holder (German Inhaber) or proprietor of a military contract with a sovereign. The Colonel purchased the regimental contract — the right to hold the regiment — from the previous holder of that right or direct from the sovereign when a new regiment was formed or an incumbent was killed. (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ...


In French usage of this period the senior Colonel in the army or in a field force — the senior military contractor — was the Colonel General and, in the absence of the sovereign or his designate, the Colonel General might serve as the commander of a force. The position, however, was primarily contractual and it became progressively more of a functionless sinecure. Colonel General is a senior military rank which is used in some of the world’s militaries. ... A sinecure (from Latin sine, without, and cura, care) means an office which requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. ...


The Colonel managed his regiment as a sort of pyramid scheme, and he would in turn receive money from another individual for the right to serve as his designated Lieutenant — 'assistant' — in full the Lieutenant Colonel. In fact the Colonel and his Lieutenant Colonel and the (Sergeant) Major were all Captains of their own companies within the regiment and the Lieutenant Colonel and Major and the other Captains were, in effect, all subcontractors or junior partners in a commercial enterprise. They received in return for their investment — the purchase of their office — a more or less regularly paid salary and certain formal and informal benefits — payments from captured towns, the value of captured military gear, etc.[vague] These emoluments might at times degenerate into mere looting and pillaging, or in better organized cases into something like a protection racket. Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a powerful organization coerces individuals or businesses to pay protection money which allegedly serves to purchase the organizations protection services against various external threats, whereas the actual threat comes from the organization itself. ...


There were also naturally opportunities for other forms of corruption — misappropriation of regimental or company funds, the collection of excessive payments from prospective holders of an office, and unlawful kick-back payments extorted from subordinates. Sovereigns naturally instituted procedures to rein in the more heinous of these activities, especially the falsifying of musters, or claiming non-existent soldiers 'paid men' in order to appropriate their pay (French solde) and allowances 'money allowed for some purpose'. This article is about a military rank. ...


The funds to pay and maintain the troops of the regiment were provided by the sovereign; the Colonel was responsible for the whole, and his subordinates for the portions passed on to them. If any were thought to have failed in this or to have been otherwise negligent of their military duties, they were subjected to a court-martial 'military court', and, if convicted, were dismissed ("cashiered"), losing their investment, and allowing the sovereign or Colonel as appropriate to resell the office to another holder. Otherwise, the holder could himself sell out when he left the service or moved to higher rank. He thus retrieved his investment, the only pension he could generally expect to receive. To some extent pensions can be seen as quit-claims offered to survivors of an office-holder, or as retainers paid to an office-holder in a decommissioned unit, a man whose services are not needed now but might be needed in the future. A court-martial (plural courts-martial) is a military court that determines punishments for members of the military subject to military law. ...


The ownership of offices tended to revert to the national authorities as military systems became better managed and offices in a commercial venture became ranks in a government service. However, in intermediate cases a consideration might still need be paid to the previous holder of a position, or to the government, if the incumbent was killed. This attenuated system is usually called purchase. In the United Kingdom, supporters of the practice said that the country had been ill-served by the professional non-purchase army created by Cromwell and that the country could only be "safe" from political intervention by the army if it were officered by men "with a stake in the country", that is, propertied men who could afford to purchase a commission. To gain control of an asset in exchange for a valuable consideration. ... For other uses, see Oliver Cromwell (disambiguation). ...


By the late 19th century, Colonel was a professional military rank though still held typically by an officer in command of a regiment or equivalent unit. Along with other ranks it has become progressively more a matter of ranked duties, qualifications and experience and of corresponding titles and pay scale than of functional office in a particular organization. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... British regiment A regiment is a military unit, consisting of a variable number of battalions - commanded by a colonel. ...


As European military influence has expanded throughout the world, the rank of Colonel became adopted by nearly every nation in existence under a variety of names.


With the rise of Communism, some of the large Communist militaries saw fit to expand the Colonel rank into several grades, resulting in the unique Senior Colonel rank which was found and is still used in such nations as China and North Korea. Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... North Korean insignia for Senior Colonel, known as a Daechwa Senior Colonel is a field grade officer rank placed between a regular Colonel and a Major General. ...


In modern English, the word Colonel is pronounced similarly to kernel (of grain) as a result of entering the language from Middle French in two competing forms, dissimilated coronel and colonel. The more conservative spelling colonel was favored in written use and eventually became the standard spelling even as it lost out in pronunciation to coronel. Dissimilation, in the context of phonology, is a phenomenon whereby similar consonant sounds in a word have a tendency to become different over time, so as to ease pronunciation. ...


Auctioneering

Those who successfully complete a course of study at an accredited auction school such as Missouri Auction School or World Wide College of Auctioneering among others are given the title of Colonel. Auctioneers who are auction school graduates have traditionally been referred to as Colonel because at the end of the Civil War, the Colonel of the winning army was called upon to auction off the "spoils of warfare". Many articles pertaining to auctioneers place the abbreviation Col. ahead of their name.


It should be noted, however, that the large majority of professional auctioneers refrain from using the title. It is often considered to be offensive to military Colonels and also a bit frivolous. When it is used, it is largely by auctioneers in the U.S. Midwest and South who are likely auctioneers of housewares, also called "Bedbug Auctioneers."


Colonel ranks by country

The following articles deal with the rank of Colonel as it is used in various national militaries.

Please see Colonel for other countries which use this rank In the Canadian Forces, the rank of Colonel (Col) (French: colonel or col) is an Army or Air Force rank equal to a Captain of the Navy. ... Please see Colonel for other countries which use this rank Colonel is a rank of the British forces, ranking just below brigadiers. ... Please see Colonel for other countries which use this rank Insignia of a United States Colonel Colonel is a rank of the United States armed forces. ... Coronel is a military rank in some Hispanic countries which corresponds to the European rank of Colonel. ... Kolonel is a rank of the Netherlands which corresponds to the rank of Colonel in other countries. ... Pakistan Army has followed British Army rank system since its independence from British Empire in 1947. ... Coat of Arms of the Italian Army Dardo IFV on exercise in Capo Teulada Soldiers of the 33rd Field Artillery Regiment Acqui on parade The Italian Army (Esercito Italiano) is the ground defense force of the Italian Republic. ... The Carabinieri are the military police of Italy. ... The Aeronautica Militare Italiana is the Italian air force. ... Portuguese Army troops heading for Angola, during World War I. Portuguese Army troops in the jungle, during the 1960s and 1970s Colonial Wars in Africa. ...

Eastern European equivalents

Since the 16th century, the rank of regimental commander was adopted by several Central and Eastern European armies, most notably the forces of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Cossacks and then Muscovy. The exact name of the rank maintains a variety of spellings, all descendant from the Old Slavonic word plk or polk meaning standing army (see The Tale of Igor's Campaign), and include the following: (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... Pre-1989 division between the West (grey) and Eastern Bloc (orange) superimposed on current national boundaries: Russia (dark orange), other countries of the former USSR (medium orange),members of the Warsaw pact (light orange), and other former Communist regimes not aligned with Moscow (lightest orange). ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... For other uses, see Cossack (disambiguation). ... Muscovy (Moscow principality (княжество Московское) to Grand Duchy of Moscow (Великое Княжество Московское) to Russian Tsardom (Царство Русское)) is a traditional Western name for the Russian state that existed from the 14th century to the late 17th century. ... Old Slavonic may refer to: Old Church Slavonic language Common Slavonic language This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The Tale of Igors Campaign (Old East Slavic: Слово о плъку Игоревѣ, Slovo o pălku IgorevÄ›; Modern Russian: Слово о полку Игореве, Slovo o polku Igoreve) is an anonymous masterpiece of East Slavic literature written in Old East Slavic language and tentatively dated by the end of 12th century. ...

Plukovnik is a rank in the Czech Republic which corresponds to Colonel in the militaries of other nations. ... Pułkownik (literarily Regimentary, abbrev. ... Polkovnik (Russian: ), universally treated as Colonel, began as a commander of a distinct group of troops, Old Slavonic polk (полк), arranged for a particular battle. ... This article is actively undergoing a major edit. ... Not to be confused with Republika Srpska. ...

Colonel equivalent ranks

... Överste (colonel) is a rank in the Swedish Armed Forces. ... Aluf is the term used for general in the Israeli Defence Forces. ... Colonel is both a military rank and civilian title, used by nearly every country in the world. ... Syntagmatarhis is used in the Greek language to mean Colonel. In the modern Hellenic Army the rank is superior to an Antisyntagmatarhis (Lieutenant Colonel) and inferior to an Taxiarhos (Brigadier). ... Colonel is both a military rank and civilian title, used by nearly every country in the world. ... Chinese rank of Shang Xiao Shang Xiao is a senior officer rank in the Peoples Liberation Army equivalent to colonel in most Western militaries. ... Coronel is a military rank in some Hispanic countries which corresponds to the European rank of Colonel. ... ...

Other Colonel ranks

SS-Standartenführer insignia Standartenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was used in both the SA and the SS. First created as a title in 1925, in 1928 the rank became one of the first commissioned Nazi ranks and was bestowed upon those SA and SS officers... SS redirects here. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... The straight-armed Balkenkreuz, a stylized version of the Iron Cross, the emblem of the Wehrmacht. ...

In fiction

  • In Battlestar Galactica, Colonel is a commissioned officer rank senior to Major but junior to Commander. The second highest field grade officer rank in the Colonial Fleet, it is often held by a Battlestar Executive Officer
  • In the Homestar Runner cartoons, particularly the Strong Bad E-mail "army", Homestar is the colonel of the Homestarmy, however, he pronounces it the way it is spelled (col-lon-nel).
  • In Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, the head of Calloway Military School was a man named Colonel Calloway.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Albireo Imma goes by the alias Colonel Sanders.
  • In Cluedo, Colonel Mustard is a playable character. In the movie Clue, see Clue (film), he was played by Martin Mull.
  • Colonel Sanders, the mascot of Kentucky Fried Chicken
  • Colonel Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss. Field Marshal McGovern notes that he should be an Executive General by now, but that for whatever reason he has chosen to maintain the rank of colonel. Despite being below Generals in the Malkuth Imperial Forces, he is often seen giving commands to them.
  • In anime Fullmetal Alchemist, one of the supporting characters is Colonel Roy Mustang

Battlestar Galactica. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... Commander is a military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. ... A Battlestar from the original series A Battlestar (the Battlestar Galactica) from the re-imagined series, flight pods retracted for FTL travel For other uses, see Battlestar (disambiguation). ... While Executive officer literally refers to a person responsible for the performance of duties involved in running an organization, the exact meaning of the role is highly variable, depending on the organization. ... Homestar Runner is a Flash animated Internet cartoon. ... Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School is a 1988 TV-movie about Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, and Scrappy-Doo becoming teachers at a school for daughters of famous monsters. ... Negima: Magister Negi Magi (魔法先生ネギま! Mahō Sensei Negima) is a manga and anime series by Ken Akamatsu. ... Look up Alias in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The term alias may refer to— an assumed name, or pseudonym. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the 1985 film. ... Martin Mull (born August 18, 1943) is an American actor who has starred in his own TV sitcom and acted in prominent films. ... Harland David Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders (September 9, 1890 – December 16, 1980) was the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). ... KFC (full name Kentucky Fried Chicken) is a division of Yum! Brands, Inc. ... Tales of the Abyss ) is a console role-playing game developed by Namco Tales Studio and published by Namco. ... “Fullmetal” redirects here. ...

Trivia

The "Colonel" is the mascot of Curry College, and Wilkes University from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Founded in 1879, Curry College is a private, four-year, co-educational[2] liberal arts-based institution located on a wooded 137-acre campus in Milton, Massachusetts in the United States, seven miles from downtown Boston. ...


Some military forces have a Colonel as their highest ranking officer;

The NOT SO ROYAL Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force is the armed force of Antigua and Barbuda. ... Military branches: Armed Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force), National Gendarmerie Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,402,566 females age 15-49: 1,445,082 note: both sexes are liable for military service (2000 est. ... The Gambian national army numbers about 1,900. ... Icelandic Crisis Response Unit Mobile Observation Team in Afghanistan. ... military band of Luxembourg The military of Luxembourg consists of a solitary branch: the army; Luxembourg has no navy or air force. ... The Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Princes Company of Carabiniers) is the military force of Monaco. ... Prince(ss) of Monaco is a title given to certain members of the princely family of Monaco. ... The Niger Armed Forces total 8,000 personnel, in addition to 2,700 national gendarmes and 4,000 members of the Garde Republicaine. ... Surinames armed forces consist of the national army, under the control of the Minister of Defense, and a smaller civil police force, which reports to the Minister of Justice and Police. ...

See also

Comparative military ranks are a means of comparing military rank systems of different nations as a means of categorizing the hierarchy of an armed force compared to another. ... Kentucky colonel is an honorary title bestowed upon individuals by approval of the governor of Kentucky. ...

References

  • Keegan, John; & Wheatcroft, Andrew (1996). Who's Who in Military History: From 1453 to the Present Day. London: Routledge.
  • Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope on the pronunciation of "colonel": http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_250.html

  Results from FactBites:
 
COLONEL PADDLEWHEELER - Galveston, Texas (121 words)
Experience the elegance and romance of the paddlewheel from a bygone era aboard the COLONEL, a triple deck sternwheeler.
The COLONEL is available for private parties of 100 or more aboard the day or evening cruises.
The COLONEL also welcomes individuals on our regularly scheduled day and dinner/dance cruises.
Colonel Sanders - KFC.com (0 words)
As Sanders' fame grew, Governor Ruby Laffoon made him a Kentucky Colonel in 1935 in recognition of his contributions to the state's cuisine.
In 1955, confident of the quality of his fried chicken, the Colonel devoted himself to developing his chicken franchising business.
Until he was fatally stricken with leukemia in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants around the world.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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