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|Abbreviation||US Army: LTC|
USAF: Lt Col
|NATO rank code||OF-4|
|Next higher rank||Colonel|
|Next lower rank||Major|
In the United States Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, lieutenant colonel is a field-grade officer rank, just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.
The pay grade for the rank of lieutenant colonel is O-5. In the United States armed forces, the insignia for the rank are a silver oak leaf, with slight stylized differences between the version of the Army and the Air Force and that of the Navy and the Marine Corps.
Promotion to lieutenant colonel is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) of 1980, for officers in the Active Component, and its companion Reserve Officer Personnel Management Act (ROPMA), for officers in the Reserve Component (e.g., Reserve and National Guard). DOPMA guidelines suggest that 70 percent of majors be promoted to lieutenant colonel after serving at least three years at their present rank and after 15–17 years of cumulative commissioned service.
The U.S. Army uses the three letter abbreviation "LTC," while the Marine Corps and Air Force use the abbreviations of "LtCol" and "Lt Col" (note the space), respectively. These abbreviation formats are also outlined in The Naval Institute Guide to Naval Writingand in Air Force Handbook 33-337 (AFH 33-337), The Tongue and Quill.
The United States Government Publishing Office recommends the abbreviation "LTC" for U.S. Army usage, "LtCol" for Marine Corps usage, and "Lt. Col." for the Air Force. The Associated Press Stylebook recommends the abbreviation "Lt. Col." for the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
Slang terms for the rank historically used by the U.S. military include "light colonel", "short colonel", "light bird", "half colonel", "walking colonel", "bottlecap colonel" (referring to the silver oak leaf insignia), and "telephone colonel" (from self-reference as "colonel" when using a telephone).[ citation needed ]
The rank of lieutenant colonel has existed in the British Army since at least the 16th century and was used in both American colonial militia and colonial regular regiments. [ citation needed ]The Continental Army continued the British and colonial use of the rank of lieutenant colonel, as the second-in-command to a colonel commanding a regiment. The lieutenant colonel was sometimes known as "lieutenant to the colonel."
In British practice, regiments were actually commanded by their lieutenant colonels, as the colonel was a titular position(with the incumbent absent from the regiment serving as a senior staff officer, a general officer, or as a member of the nobility). Since the British colonel was not a "combat" officer, beginning in May 1778 to simplify prisoner of war exchanges, American regiments began to eliminate colonels by attrition and replace them with a lieutenant colonel commandant. The conversion was never completely effected and some regiments remained commanded by colonels throughout the war. From 1784 until 1791, there was only one lieutenant colonel in the US Army (Josiah Harmar), who acted as the army's commanding officer.
In the Continental Army aides to the Commander in Chief, viz., Lieutenant General George Washington, were lieutenant colonels. Additionally, certain officers serving under the Adjutant General, Inspector General, and Judge Advocate General, ranked as lieutenant colonels.
During the 19th century, lieutenant colonel was often a terminal rank for many officers, since the rank of "full colonel" was considered extremely prestigious and reserved only for the most successful officers. Upon the outbreak of the 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 military found lieutenant colonel to again be a terminal rank, although many lieutenant colonels were raised to higher positions in a brevet status. Such was the case with George A. 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.
In the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps (USMC), a lieutenant colonel typically commands a battalion- or squadron-sized unit (300 to 1,200 Soldiers or Marines), with a major as executive officer (XO) and a command sergeant major or sergeant major (USMC) as principal non-commissioned officer (NCO) or senior enlisted adviser (SEA). A lieutenant colonel may also serve as a brigade/brigade combat team, regiment/regimental combat team, Marine Aviation Group (MAG), Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), or battalion task force executive officer. Lieutenant colonels routinely serve as principal staff officers, under a colonel as chief of staff, on a general staff ("G" staff) of a division, Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), or Marine Logistics Group (MLG). These staff positions include G-1 (administration and personnel), G-2 (intelligence), G-3 (operations), G-4 (logistics), G-5 (planning), G-6 (computers and communications), G-9 (Civil Affairs). "The G-n" may mean either a specific staff section or the staff officer leading a section. Lieutenant colonels may also be junior staff at a variety of higher echelons.
In the United States Air Force, a lieutenant colonel is generally a squadron commander in the operations group, mission support group, or maintenance groups, or a squadron commander or division chief in a medical group. The lieutenant colonel also may serve as a Director of Operations (DO) in a squadron in the operations group before assuming command of his or her own squadron (this is common for rated officers in flying units), or as a deputy commander of a squadron in the maintenance, mission-support, or medical group. Lieutenant colonels may serve also on general staffs and may be the heads of some wing staff departments. Air Force lieutenant colonels in the acquisition career fields can be selected to serve as "Materiel Leaders" (Program Managers or Branch Chiefs), similar to how other Air Force lieutenant colonels are selected to serve as squadron commanders. Senior lieutenant colonels occasionally serve as group commanders, most commonly in units of the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard.
In U.S. Army ROTC detachments, the commander is typically a lieutenant colonel, with several majors, captains, and non-commissioned officers serving as assistants. In the U.S. Air Force, Air Force ROTC detachments may be commanded by full colonels or lieutenant colonels, depending on the size of the detachment and the size of the associated college or university.
The rank of lieutenant colonel is also used by many large American municipal police departments, county sheriff's offices/departments, state highway patrols, state police, and other law-enforcement agencies for officers in senior administrative positions. The rank is not always called "lieutenant colonel"; and in many cases—especially in municipal police agencies—another term, such as "assistant chief" or "commander", is used, and only the insignia are retained. In some organizations, however, especially state police agencies, both the title and insignia are used. Occasionally, the rank is used with, rather than instead of, an official title. For example, in the Texas Department of Public Safety, the head of the agency's patrol division is titled "Chief of the Highway Patrol" but holds the rank of a lieutenant colonel: this officer therefore is called "lieutenant colonel," not "chief".
Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships, within an armed forces, police, intelligence agencies or other institutions organized along military lines. The military rank system defines dominance, authority, and responsibility in a military hierarchy. It incorporates the principles of exercising power and authority into the military chain of command – the succession of commanders superior to subordinates through which command is exercised. The military chain of command constructs an important component for organized collective action.
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of three to six battalions plus supporting elements. It is roughly equivalent to an enlarged or reinforced regiment. Two or more brigades may constitute a division.
An executive officer is a person who is principally responsible for leading all or part of an organization, although the exact nature of the role varies depending on the organization. In many militaries and police forces, an executive officer, or "XO", is the second-in-command, reporting to the commanding officer. The XO is typically responsible for the management of day-to-day activities, freeing the commander to concentrate on strategy and planning the unit's next move.
The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer, commanding general (CG), is the officer in command of a military unit. The commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as they see fit, within the bounds of military law. In this respect, commanding officers have significant responsibilities, duties, and powers.
Wendell Cushing Neville was a major general of the United States Marine Corps. He was a Medal of Honor recipient and 14th Commandant of the Marine Corps between 1929 and 1930.
A group is a military unit or a military formation that is most often associated with military aviation.
Commandant is a title often given to the officer in charge of a military training establishment or academy. This usage is common in English-speaking nations. In some countries it may be a military or police rank. It is also often used to refer to the commander of a military prison or prison camp.
In many of the world's military establishments, a brevet was a warrant giving a commissioned officer a higher rank title as a reward for gallantry or meritorious conduct but may not confer the authority, precedence, or pay of real rank. An officer so promoted was referred to as being brevetted. The promotion would be noted in the officer's title.
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Space Force, colonel is the most senior field-grade military officer rank, immediately above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general. It is equivalent to the naval rank of captain in the other uniformed services. By law, an officer previously required at least 22 years of cumulative service and a minimum of three years as a lieutenant colonel before being promoted to colonel. With the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, military services now have the authorization to directly commission new officers up to the rank of colonel. The pay grade for colonel is O-6.
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field-grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is that of a senior officer in the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Force.
In the United States Armed Forces, a lieutenant general is a three-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
In the United States uniformed services, captain is a commissioned-officer rank. In keeping with the traditions of the militaries of most nations, the rank varies between the services, being a senior rank in the naval services and a junior rank in the ground and air forces. Many fire departments and police departments in the United States also use the rank of captain as an officer in a specific unit.
The United States Marine Corps is organized within the Department of the Navy, which is led by the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV). The most senior Marine commissioned officer is the Commandant of the Marine Corps, responsible for organizing, recruiting, training, and equipping the Marine Corps so that it is ready for operation under the command of the unified combatant commanders. The Marine Corps is organized into four principal subdivisions: Headquarters Marine Corps, the Operating Forces, the Supporting Establishment, and the Marine Forces Reserve.
Michael J. Williams is a retired United States Marine Corps 4-star general. He served as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 2000 until his retirement in 2002.
In the United States Armed Forces, a brigadier general is a one-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
In the United States Armed Forces, a major general is a two-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
A squadron in air force, army aviation, or naval aviation is a unit comprising a number of military aircraft and their aircrews, usually of the same type, typically with 12 to 24 aircraft, sometimes divided into three or four flights, depending on aircraft type and air force. Land based squadrons equipped with heavier type aircraft such as long-range bombers, cargo aircraft, or air refueling tankers have around 12 aircraft as a typical authorization, while most land-based fighter equipped units have an authorized number of 18 to 24 aircraft.
In the United States Army (USA), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), U.S. Air Force (USAF), and U.S. Space Force (USSF), captain is a company-grade officer rank, with the pay grade of O-3. It ranks above first lieutenant and below major. It is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy/Coast Guard officer rank system. The insignia for the rank consists of two silver bars, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version.
|Pay grade / branch of service||Officer|
|Army||CDT / OC||2LT||1LT||CPT||MAJ||LTC||COL||BG||MG||LTG||GEN||GA ||GAS |
|Marine Corps||Midn / Cand||2ndLt||1stLt||Capt||Maj||LtCol||Col||BGen||MajGen||LtGen||Gen|||||
|Navy||MIDN / OC||ENS||LTJG||LT||LCDR||CDR||CAPT||RDML||RADM||VADM||ADM||FADM |||
|Air Force||Cdt / OT||2nd Lt||1st Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig Gen||Maj Gen||Lt Gen||Gen||GAF |||
|Space Force||Cdt / OT||2nd Lt||1st Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig Gen||Maj Gen||Lt Gen||Gen|||||
|Coast Guard||CDT / OC||ENS||LTJG||LT||LCDR||CDR||CAPT||RDML||RADM||VADM||ADM|||||
| No universal insignia for officer candidate rank; Navy candidate insignia shown|
 No official insignia and not currently listed by the Army as an obtainable rank. John J. Pershing's GAS insignia:
 These ranks are reserved for wartime use only, and are still listed as ranks within their respective services
 Grade is authorized by the U.S. Code for use but has not been created
 Grade has never been created or authorized
| Army || |
| Marine Corps || |
| Navy || |
| Air Force || |
| Coast Guard || |
| PHS Corps |||||||||
Grade is authorized for use by U.S. Code but has not been created