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Air Force Lieutenant Colonel

O-5 Field Officer, U.S. Air Force
(Next) O-6 ColAir Force Colonel

Air Force Ranks » Lieutenant Colonel RankLt Co PayLt Co Rank History

Rank badge of a Lieutenant Colonel O-5 Lieutenant Colonel - U.S. Air Force Ranks

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel
Air Force O-5 Lieutenant Colonel Air Force Military Ranks
Class Field Officer
Abbr. Lt Co
Title Colonel (last name)
Paygrade O-5 (DoD Paygrade)
OF-5 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay $6,726/mo

Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) is the second Field Officer rank in the United States Air Force. It ranks just above Major and below Colonel. The rank of Lieutenant Colonel is often shortened to simply “Colonel” in conversation and in informal letters. The responsibilities of a Lieutenant Colonel include commanding a squadron in the mission support group, maintenance group, or in a medical group, or directing operations in the operations group. They might also be the head of a wing staff department.

The rank insignia of a Lieutenant Colonel is the same as a Majors, but the oak leaf is silver instead of gold.

Lieutenant Colonel is the 21st rank in the United States Air Force , ranking above Major and directly below Colonel. A lieutenant colonel is a Field Officer at DoD paygrade O-5, with a starting monthly pay of $6,726.

How do you become a Lieutenant Colonel?

A Lieutenant Colonel is most often promoted from Major (Maj), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience.

Most lieutenant colonels are majors who were promoted
About 70% of all majors will be promoted to lieutenant colonel. By law, lieutenant colonels must have sixteen years of service and a minimum of three years of service as a major. Most lieutenant colonels spend three years as a major before being promoted.

Lieutenant colonel-selects must also complete more training in order to be promoted. This includes education, command positions, and relevant job training.

What is the proper way to address a Lieutenant Colonel?

The correct way to address a Lieutenant Colonel named Mr. Jones is "Colonel Jones", or written as Lt Co Jones. In formal situations, a Lieutenant Colonel should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a Lieutenant Colonel earn?

Basic pay for an entry-level Lieutenant Colonel with 2 or less years of experience is $6,725.70 per month.

A Lieutenant Colonel receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Lieutenant Colonel's final compensation package.

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Air Force Lieutenant Colonel may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including housing allowance, education allowance, and more.

For full details on the Air Force's Lieutenant Colonel compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2024 Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Pay Chart. A full table of the Air Force's current paygrades are available at the Air Force Pay Chart.

Patch of a Lieutenant Colonel Equivalent Ranks to the Air Force's O-5 Lieutenant Colonel

To learn more about the Air Force's rank structure, see our complete list of Air Force ranks.

The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Lieutenant Colonel is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Air Force rank to GS grade conversion table .

To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Air Force and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.