Army Lieutenant ColonelO-5 Field Officer, U.S. Army
History of the Army Lieutenant Colonel Rank
The history of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel begins, as with many ranks in the American Army, in Britain. It existed as a rank in the army of the British Empire from the 1600’s onward.
The title was given to officers acting as aides to regimental colonels, known colloquially as lieutenants to the colonel. More specifically, as noted in the section on lieutenants, the term lieutenant denoted an officer who was a place-holding officer for a more experienced officer. Thus, in relation to regimental colonels, lieutenant colonels were place-holding colonels for the colonel.
The US Army adopted the rank and meaning behind the title of Lieutenant Colonel with the creation of the standing army of the United States.
The Civil War saw officers bearing the rank of Lieutenant Colonel move from positions of aide to colonels to commanders of their own units, battalion-level elements.
From that point onward, officers holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel had the primary function of serving as battalion commanders, a trend that has held in the United States Army into modernity.
Want to learn more? Read about the Army's Lieutenant Colonel rank on Military-Ranks.org.
History of the Army
The Army is the oldest and most senior among the branches. The Army's heritage is traced back to the Revolutionary War, when each State of the Union had its own Army, lended to the command of General George Washington. Almost 250 years have passed, but the organizational structure and naming is largely the same. The Army is still divided into Divisions, Brigades, Regiments, Battalions, Companies, and Platoons.