Marine Corps ColonelO-6 Field Officer, U.S. Marine Corps
O-6 Colonel - Field Officer - U.S. Marine Corps Ranks
Colonel is the senior field-officer grade commissioned officer rank, directly above Lieutenant Colonel and below Brigadier General. Colonels typically command Marine Corps regiment consisting of three to five battalions, with the assistance of several junior commissioned officers and a Command Sergeant Major as a primary non-commissioned officer advisor. Colonels may also be responsible for leading division-level special agencies.
In the Marine Corps, officers generally reach the rank of Colonel after 16 to 18 years of service.Most Marine Corps Colonels receive special training at the Army War College in Pennsylvania or the Marine Corps War College in Virginia, which graduate several hundred Marine Corps officers a year. Colonel is the final "stepping stone" rank before the General Officer ranks, and Colonels showing exceptional skill and leadership may be promoted to Brigadier General.
Colonel is the 23rd rank in the United States Marine Corps , ranking above Lieutenant Colonel and directly below Brigadier General. A colonel is a Field Officer at DoD paygrade O-6, with a starting monthly pay of $7,332.
How do you become a Colonel?
A Colonel is most often promoted from Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience.
Like an Officer's promotions to Major and LtCol, achieving the rank of Colonel is competitive, with only 50% of LtCols progressing forward. The Officer must submit an application, once eligible, to an approval board. They must qualitatively demonstrate a history of strong leadership in assignments both leading and teaching. They must have significant operational experience within their profession and are eligible at 21-23 years of service. High year tenure for Colonels varies periodically, and is usually 30 years.
What is the proper way to address a Colonel?
The correct way to address a Colonel named Mr. Jones is "Colonel Jones", or written as Col Jones. In formal situations, a Colonel should always be addressed by their full rank.
How much does a Colonel earn?
Basic pay for an entry-level Colonel with 2 or less years of experience is $7,332.00 per month.
A Colonel receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Colonel's final compensation package.
In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Marine Corps Colonel may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including education allowance, personal money allowance, food allowance, retirement benefits, and more.
For full details on the Marine Corps' Colonel compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2024 Marine Corps Colonel Pay Chart. A full table of the Marine Corps' current paygrades are available at the Marine Corps Pay Chart.
Equivalent Ranks to the Marine Corps' O-6 Colonel
To learn more about the Marine Corps' rank structure, see our complete list of Marine Corps ranks.
The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Colonel is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Marine Corps rank to GS grade conversion table .
To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Marine Corps and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.