Colonel Badass

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"I am Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt. I am known as a fair man, unless I am pushed. You have just pushed me."

Imagine The Captain, but instead of a ship at sea or in the stars, s/he has a large contingent of ground troops. Still the most kickass guy around, powerful leader, outranks everyone else in The Squad, you know the type. Chances are, he is gonna be a colonel.

This is probably because "Colonel" is the highest military rank deployable in the field, the highest rank unlikely to be noticed and Authority Equals Asskicking on TV. Theoretically, General Ripper and The Brigadier should have more Power Levels than Colonel Badass but star ranks are for pen-pushers and quill-drivers. That's why the colonel always wins (unless you have a Four-Star Badass lurking around). The fact that an Army, Marine, or Air Force colonel and a Navy captain are technically the same rank may also have something to do with it, or it may just be coincidental.

This man in a professional, married to the job, and mission accomplishment is the entire purpose of his existence. He's tends to be fairly young for a colonel, likely because he climbed the ranks rapidly after an outstanding performance in an earlier war or campaign as junior officer. When he's got a full command of hundreds or thousands of troops, chances are he won't do much fighting himself on a day to day basis, because he's too busy managing the battlefield with a level of competence that prevents the enemy from ever gaining the initiative in the first place. If it ever comes down to it, though, his personal weapon will likely be a high caliber handgun - and while it won't be drawn often, it'll rarely miss when it is. Many have tried to kill this man, many of them extremely deadly in their own right, all of them have failed.

He won't break down over losses, but neither will he throw his men's lives away. If a General Ripper is his immediate superior, the two will almost certainly clash in styles, because not only is Colonel Badass a better leader but he's also more sane, more pragmatic, far more imaginative, doesn't give a crap about political concerns and values ability/utility wherever he finds it. In fact, chances are as good as not he rose from nothing himself, especially if the organization he's a part of doesn't usually encourage that sort of thing. He's an unstoppable force and an immovable object. He's loyalty incarnate, the best friend anyone can have; but he's also the embodiment of vengeance, and if you screw him over, your life is forfeit. Even if he dies he lives on as an ideal.

He is commonly an Officer and a Gentleman... or at least, tries to be one, as long as it doesn't hinder his badassness because this man does not suffer fools. His Evil Counterpart is the Colonel Kilgore.

For any Commonwealth Tropers out there this trope also counts for badass Wing commanders and Group captains as well. On the international stage it applies to any badass with an equivalent NATO officer rank code of OF-4 or OF-5.

Pretty much a universal trope, just like Colonel is a universal rank (Lieutenant Colonels are included, as are full commanders, the naval rank equivalent to Lieutenant Colonels in most western militaries). A subtrope of Authority Equals Asskicking. In terms of Authority Tropes, Majorly Awesome is for just a notch lower while the next step up is The Brigadier.

Examples of Colonel Badass include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Col. Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist. He beats even the Führer, in the first anime. In the manga/Brotherhood, he BURNS HIS OWN WOUNDS SHUT and by the end of the series, he manages to personally take down two out of the seven Homunculi, which is REALLY impressive in that universe. He also plays several of the defining bits of the trope incredibly straight - he's only thirty years old, rose through the ranks incredibly fast (partly due to being a State Alchemist, which automatically starts you off at the rank of Major), he's extremely high-minded and has tremendous ideals for the country, and he will throw himself into danger in a heartbeat rather than risk losing one of his comrades, particularly his five dearest and most loyal subordinates.
    • Credit must also be given to his best friend, Lt. Col. Maes Hughes, who, despite not being an alchemist, is an investigative genius who also knows how to kick ass with throwing knives. He even gets double promoted to Brigadier General for dying in the line of duty, though that was in part to cover up the conspiracy.
    • Major Armstrong eventually gets promoted to Lt. Col. in the first anime (in the manga, it's stated he's never promoted due to his compassion for the enemy). Also in the first anime, Lt. Col. Frank Archer thinks he's one of these; whether he counts is really up to the viewer. While he is quite cool and collected under fire, he's also a sociopathic Smug Snake and General Ripper.
    • Basque Grand's manga incarnation. What makes it more impressive is that he had been firmly entrenched in the minds of the fans as a Complete Monster and General Ripper by the first anime's portrayal. In the manga, however, he's A Father to His Men who leads from the front, transmutes entire buildings into weapons while delivering hamtastic lines, accepts Ishbal's high clerics surrender and shoots Brigadier Fiessler (an actual General Ripper) when the latter orders the troops to kill the cleric and continue the genocide. Also has one of the most Badass Moustaches known to man.
  • Lt.Col. Hayate Yagami in the third season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. This is in sharp contrast, for example, to the local General Ripper who fails to qualify even as a Badass Normal and the three Admirals who only appear on TV screens. Possibly the only Colonel Magical Girl ever.
  • Col. Richard Burton in Madlax.
  • Col. Sanders is the preferred nickname of one of the most powerful fighters in Mahou Sensei Negima that we've seen so far.
    • That's Ku:Nel Sanders thank you.
  • Great General of Darkness/Ankoku Daishogun from Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger, The Dragon of the Emperor of Darkness and commander of the seven armies of the Mykene Empire. He wields a BFS, sports a Badass Cape and a Badass Beard, and he can kick the butt of nearly any Humongous Mecha invented by Go Nagai. He led the army of Mykene Empire, personally or delegating on his generals, and he was A Father to His Men considered unforgivable default intelligence costed the lives of his troops. He fought Great Mazinger because he knew he could win, slicing it with his blade mercilessly as he laughed its attacks off. And he fought Mazinkaiser quite evenly.
  • Col. Shikishima from Akira has several traits of a General Ripper but remains a Badass Normal to the very end.
  • Though she's lacking a couple of ranks, Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell is not only a Major Badass but also a major badass! She fits the trope perfectly as she can behave like a lady if she wants to, but usually rather disables tanks with her bare hands or fight of several cyborgs in her dress uniform, complete with skirt and high heels.
    • The Dangerously Genre Savvy commander of the Umibozu, a Navy special forces team that goes up against Section Nine in Stand Alone Complex's endgame, is addressed as Taisa: literally Colonel, though since he's Navy, his rank proper would be Captain. (Note that in Japan, the same word is used to refer to both Colonel (Army) and Captain (Navy).
  • Col. Dewey Novak is not only the Big Bad of Eureka Seven but he also pulls off a fully functional My Death Is Just the Beginning scheme triggered by shooting himself in the head. What's more badass than that?
  • Oscar de Jarjeyes holds the rank of colonel as commander of the Royal Guards.
  • Gundam saga has a few:
    • Col. Sergei Smirnov from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, a Badass Normal Ace Pilot. He is able to, despite having woefully inferior equipment, nearly bag two gundams in a single battle through sheer cunning and guile the like of which makes CB's own resident strategic genius honestly afraid. The show also contains Colonel Kati Mannequin, who is more The Strategist than a bloodletter, but has gone into battle alongside the troops, directly in harms way, and her strategies have scored her several Crowning Moments Of Awesome, the capstone of which was her epic screwjob on the ALAWS in Episode 22.
    • A captain (from the navy, whose ranks Zeon uses for all branches of military service, which is equivalent to a colonel), Norris Packard of Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team definitely counts. He takes on three Gundams, all piloted by the main characters, and three Guntanks, at the same time, alone, in an inferior machine, and wins. And on top of all that he finds time to be a father figure to one of the main characters.
      • Inferior mech? This is no Zaku boy, No Zaku!
    • In Gundam Wing all notable officers in OZ save Noin are colonels, Treize in particular seems Genre Savvy about this, maintaining the rank of colonel even after conquering the Earth twice.
      • Gundam Wing uses an unorthodox rank structure based more around courtly titles than military rank. Treize is actually comparable to a Major General; Lady Une is a Colonel, as is Zechs Merquise after he earns his two-rank promotion for his actions in Operation Nova, OZ's coup d'état to overthrow the Earth Alliance.
    • Naturally, most of these guys all have the Colonel Badass-in name Ramba Ral to thank for all of this. Only a leiutenant, he was still awesome and has often been paired with Norris as a dynamic duo of doom.
  • Col. Paya Livingston from Dai Mahou Touge. Boy, is he badass.
  • The Colonel, head of God's Army, in Fist of the North Star. His weapon of choice is a Precision-Guided Boomerang, controlled with Psychic Powers. He manages to be a threat to Kenshiro without some form of superpowerful martial arts.
  • Col. Todou of Code Geass. He's one of the higher-ranked members of the Japanese Liberation Front, and leader of their most elite squad, the Four Heavenly Swords. Later, he joins the Black Knights and becomes Zero's third-in-command.
    • Also of note is the fact that Todou is (based on ratings made by C.C, so take them with salt) the highest rated Black Knight, and second only to the Ace Pilots of the series in his combat abilities.
  • Well, not Colonel Badass but more Major Badass, Major Misato Katsuragi. Especially in End of Evangelion.
  • Taki's high rank combined with his general military badassness puts him squarely in this trope.
  • Captain Smoker from One Piece. He is stationed at some crappy station outside the grand line and considering his logia power he is ranked to low in the marines. He also cares deeply for Tashgi and his marine subordinates. Furthermore he smokes and uses the smoke power


Board Games[edit | hide]

  • Colonal Mustard from Clue: he's either a murderer or among a group of people who caught one. Then, of course, there is his Badass Beard.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Col. Abernathy, a.k.a. Hawk, in G.I. Joe. After the first couple years of the comic he gets promoted to General and Duke takes over as tactical commander of the team, but he still gets into action on occasion.
  • Col. Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe. His Badassery is compounded in the Ultimate Marvel universe and the Iron Man film due to his portrayal by Samuel L. Jackson.
    • Somewhat averted in the Ultimate Marvel universe though, as he's actually a four-star general there (or started out that way, anyhow), which would be much more realistic for the commander-in-chief of a multinational paramilitary espionage organization. Either way, it doesn't make him any less Badass.
      • He starts as a colonel (that does not look like Samuel L. Jackson) by the end of his first appearance he's promoted as the head of Shield, and he's a 4-star general by his next appearance.
  • Also Marvel, James Rhodes (War Machine, and sometimes Iron Man), is an Air Force Lt. Colonel in Ultimate Marvel and the movies.
  • Col. Jennifer Sparks of The Authority. Technically, she did fight in WWII, against Sliding Albion and uses her rank and status in the British Army Intelligence to make them do what she wants.
  • Gail Simone's run on Wonder Woman turned former Plucky Comic Relief character Etta Candy into a Deadpan Snarker Lieutenant colonel who is also a Badass Normal, as well as one of Wondy's "sisters" and very dear friends.


Fan Fic[edit | hide]

  • In the 'Daria' Fanfic series 'Legion of Lawndale Heroes', there are two Colonel Badass types - Colonel Kyle Armalin, and Colonel Franklin Davers. The latter's an Army Special Forces type, the former a Marine aviator with a LOT of covert paramilitary experience from shooting things all over the world. Just to cement his Badass cred, first look at the first initials of his full name - Kyleton Isaiah Armalin... and then, also consider that he was given his middle name in honor of Isaiah Bradley - the FIRST Captain America, and an 'old-school' Badass if EVER there was one.
  • Colonel Nick Parker may be "retired", but that doesn't stop him from organizing and waging a guerrilla war inside of twenty-four hours of the Nod invasion, which comes complete with hunting down and destroying Avatar warmechs, blowing up a Nod general using his own artillery, and even recapturing the White House. There's a reason he's called "Havoc."
  • Played straight in Immortality Protocol Cy-Fox by Dr. Robotnik's father.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett is this in the Robotech fanfic Scoop. Later, due to the wear and tear flying Valkyries does to his body, he becomes a Desk Jockey, and is still one when he appears as a lieutenant general in Dire Straits
  • Lieutenant Colonel Lupon Kravshera is this in the Robotech fanfic Dire Straits
  • Col. Flix in Q-Basic Gorillas.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The one atop this page, Colonel Miles Motherfucking Quaritch of Avatar. He's the designated villain, but that doesn't stop him from modding his AMP suit with a gigantic combat knife, or running out into Pandora's toxic atmosphere, guns blazing, without bothering to put a gas mask on. In one instance, it takes him about 11 seconds to react to the fact that he is, in fact, on fire. Quaritch is in fact, so Badass he inspires major Rooting for the Empire.
    • To clarify the above example, Colonel Quaritch was aware the entire time that he was on fire. He just waited to extinguish himself until after he'd finished what he was already doing at the time.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's character John Matrix takes this trope to an utter extreme in the movie Commando. Although his character is a retired Special Forces colonel, Arnie still manages to kick enough ass for several movies.
  • Col. Stewart in Die Hard 2.
  • Lt. Colonel William Lennox. Does he sit behind and command his troops from the command post? Fuck no! He takes on the Transformers with them head-on!
    • Though he's not a Colonel until the third film.
  • There is a Russian movie named The Apocalypse Code, one of the better Russian action movies, actually, whose protagonist is an Action Girl (bordering Extraordinarily Empowered Girl) serving in the Russian special forces. Obviously, she is a colonel. Which is revealed just before she gets serious, topping all her previous stunts.
  • Col. Andrea Stavros in The Guns of Navarone movie adaptation, the best hand-to-hand fighter in the group.
  • Col. Benjamin Martin in The Patriot. Single-handedly killed an entire platoon of Redcoats, including at least three with a tomahawk. Colonel Tavington is an Evil Brit version, kicking the butts of Mel Gibson's rag tag Rebel militia.
  • Commander Rourke in Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
  • Col. Thursday in Fort Apache... well, sort of... at least until he orders the infamous Thursday's Charge, which results in the utter destruction of half the regiment.
  • In the remake of I Am Legend Will Smith's character is Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville. A brilliant scientist who also managed to survive being badly outnumbered by cannibalistic hordes. It wasn't because he was a punk...
  • Johny Rico is a colonel in the third Starship Troopers movie (he was a Lt. by end of the first one).
  • In the movie Glory, Matthew Broderick plays a Real Life Colonel Badass; in this case Col. Robert Gould Shaw the son of Boston abolitionists who commanded the Union Army's first black troops in the Civil War.
  • Apocalypse Now features two Colonel Badasses. The first is Colonel Kurtz, who had the credentials to be a general but chose a life in the shit. While fighting in Vietnam, he goes kill-crazy and creates an army of zealots who worship him like a god. The other is Lt.Col. Bill Kilgore, a bulletproof Badass who surfs in warzones and enjoys the aroma of napalm like a nice cup of joe. In the Redux edition, however, he's taken down a peg after his surfboard is stolen and he broadcasts messages begging for it back.
  • Lt. Col. Frank Slade from Scent of a Woman. He does the tango with a beautiful stranger who's waiting on her boyfriend, drives a Ferrari BLIND, and completely and utterly owns snobby schoolmasters. Plus, he's played by Al Pacino, which totally doubles his badassitude.
  • Col. Nathan R. Jessup, as played by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.

-- "You want me on that trope. You need me on that trope!"

    • Averted, though, when you consider that Jessup illegally ordered a man in his command be beaten, then falsified records and lied repeatedly when that beating led to a Marine's death. Can you really be Colonel Badass when your conduct guarantees a dishonorable discharge if you don't first spend the rest of your life in a brig?
    • Yes, you can. Colonel Badass is not necessarily Colonel Good Guy. Half the examples of this list are villanous ones.
    • Yes, but they actually displayed badassedness during their movies. Jessup's only claim to badass is his alleged combat leadership skills -- which, as the movie shows, are actually sorta lacking.
  • Thoroughly averted in Doctor Strangelove: Group Captain (RAF for Colonel) Mandrake is a bit of a wimp and fails to properly stand up for himself when around other domineering American officers, while US Army Colonel "Bat" Guano does not even understand his own mission, and is instead obsessed with eliminating "preverts."
  • James Bond holds the rank of commander in the Royal Navy.
  • Lt. Col. Barnsby (played by Harrison Ford) in Force 10 from Navarone.
  • Completely averted (as to be expected) in the film Spaceballs, in the figure of Colonel Sandurz. Whassa matter, Colonel Sandurz ...CHICKEN?!
    • Considering that he's Grand Moff Tarkin if Tarkin were stupid rather than evil, this is to be expected.
  • Col. Sam Trautman, the former trainer and commander of none other than John Rambo. He's more of the Obi Wan in the movies than Colonel Badass, but he gets this status because of his line in the first movie:

Sheriff Will Teasle: Where in God's name did this Rambo come from...
Col. Trautman: God didn't make Rambo. I made him.
(Cut to a shot of the tent's entrance. A silhouette of a bereted and Badass LongCoated individual is standing there.)

Lev: I AM THE ONLY CERTIFIED ASTRONAUT HERE, AND I AM SAVING YOUR AMERICAN ASS!!!

  • He may have been a Complete Monster Psycho for Hire, but Col. Koobus of District 9 was also incredibly badass. He was consistently shown to be a supremely competent leader of his men, never lost his cool in the heat of battle (though he did start to lose it when he was bragging to Wikus about killing him), showed bravery even in the face of overpowering alien weaponry, and even when he was surrounded by all sides by Prawns, who were going to tear him apart regardless, he still went down fighting.
  • Col. Hans Landa, a.k.a. the Jew Hunter, from Inglourious Basterds. The epitome of both Magnificent Bastard and Wicked Cultured. Regardless of the fact he's a Complete Monster.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull we learn Indy attained the rank of colonel during World War II while working as an agent for the OSS(the precursor to the CIA). Colonel Doctor Irina Spalko most definitely counts too.
  • Colonel Douglas Mortimer in For a Few Dollars More.
  • Colonel Nicholas Alexander, played by Lee Marvin in his final performance, was the only man who could possibly give Chuck Norris' Major Scott McCoy orders in The Delta Force.
  • Colonel Rhumbus in Spies Like Us. He knocks out his own squad of elite ninja soldiers and then takes our heroes through accelerated GLG20 training. His salutes are so snappy that you can hear his gloved hand cutting through the air.
  • Averted in Ip Man, where Japanese Colonel Sato is a Smug Snake who only hits people when they're in no position to fight back. Preferably from safe up high behind a gun.
  • Commander Anderson, United States Navy SEALs, played by Michael "Kyle Reese" Biehn, in The Rock.
  • In Top Gun the soft-spoken, gruffly avuncular Commander Mike "Viper" Metcalf and the foul-mouthed, quick-tempered, cigar-chomping Commander Tom "Stinger" Jordan provide contrasting, but equally classic, examples of this trope.
  • Colonel Stryker in X 2 X Men United.

Stryker: I was pilotin' Black Ops missions in the jungles of North Vietnam while you were suckin' on your mama's tit at Woodstock, Kelly. Don't lecture me about war. This already is a war.

    • In the Wolverine prequel, he is a Major, with anti-Mutant sentiment still in formation.
  • Colonel Dax in Paths of Glory. Try not flinching when enemy shells are exploding randomly less than 20 yards away from you. Go on, try. We'll wait.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Danny Mcknight in Black Hawk Down. He casually walks from a convoy of Humvees to a building, through the open, while Rangers all around him are diving for cover and flinching. He ignores a gunshot wound to his throat that would have opened his carotid artery if it had been a millimeter to the right. After that injury, one of the Rangers tells him he doesn't need to go back out to save the rest of his men. He just smokes his cigar, looks at the guy like he's an idiot, then rides out with the 10th Mountain Division to get the rest of his men.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In his 1884 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain gave us Col. Sherburn who shoots a drunk who only annoyed him and gets away with it by scaring the lynch mob away with a Hannibal Lecture. This makes the trope Older Than Radio.
  • Col. Sebastian Moran in the Sherlock Holmes stories, Professor Moriarty's top assassin.
  • Col. John Christian Falkenberg in Jerry Pournelle's SF stories.
  • Two in Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts: Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and his subordinate, Col. Colm Corbec. Gaunt has a head-start in that he's already a Badass Longcoat, but Corbec makes a rather good accounting of himself as well.
  • Another Warhammer 40000 example: Col. Shaeffer of The Last Chancers. He can stroll up and down a battlefield filled with Orks and Tyranids like he was on parade, decapitating Carnifexes and seeing the whole battle through without a scratch. At the same time, the hardened criminals of the 13th Penal Legion absolutely fear him more than those same Orks and Tyranids.
  • A very obscure Warhammer 40 000 example from Let the Galaxy Burn; Commisar von Klas. He's kidnapped and enslaved by a kabal of dark eldar, kills an eldar wych in one-on-one close combat, kills his torturer with his own weapons, then organises a break out which dooms the entire kabal to be defeated by a rival faction. The story ends with him telling his former master "They will cut my throat like some common animal. I suspect, however, you will take much longer to die."
  • Count Dokhturov in War and Peace. Calm, methodical, the perfect man to have fighting for you. Tolstoy devotes most of a page describing why people like Dokhturov are never considered heroes despite the fact that battles would be lost without them.
  • Lt.Col. Du Bois in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. He taught the main character's History and Moral Philosophy class, and the character was startled that the old man had been both a Lt.Col. in the infantry and a classmate of his Drill Sergeant Nasty, Sergeant Zim.
  • Col. Fedmahn Kassad in Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos.
  • Col. 'Lizard' Tirelli (from the War Against the Chtorr sci-fi series by David Gerrold) is so badass she single-handedly flies jet-assisted helicopter gunships in her spare time.
  • Col. Jack Deadham from The Blue Sword.
  • Mostly inverted in the Sharpe series, except when Sharpe himself attains the rank. Much of the conflict in the series is driven by various Upper Class Twit officers.
  • Definitely Commander Julius Root of Artemis Fowl. While not quite a colonel, he basically occupies the last real field rank of the LEP and proves himself to be one of the sharpest and toughest characters in the first book.
    • Except for the fact that it's not a field rank. In order for him to participate in a mission lots of paperwork, which most people can never get approved, needs to be filled out. Fortunately, the person responsible for filling out the paperwork is him.
  • Commanders count? There are few colonels in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but several Commanders.
    • Commander Wedge Antilles: A fighter pilot who flew against both Death Stars and rose to become the leader of Rogue Squadron, the Alliance's best fighter squadron. Instrumental in the retaking of Coruscant from the Empire, the negotiating of a cure for the Krytos disease, the taking of Thyferra, the capture of a Super Star Destroyer, the death of Ysanne Isard (twice!), and the campaign against Warlord Zsinj. Then he finally accepted promotion to General. (Weirdly, he was never a colonel, even though, depending on source, colonel is a half-notch above commander.)
    • Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo: A member of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, Thrawn was born a commoner and gained status through military service, becoming a merit adoptive of the Eight Ruling Family and further becoming a trial-born. He was the youngest ever Force Commander in the Expansionary Fleet, using brilliant and undeniably effective but underhanded tactics, often involving preemptive strikes, that were seen as morally bankrupt to his people. Some time after the events of Outbound Flight he was exiled and wound up in Imperial service, where he very quickly rose through the ranks until becoming one of the thirteen secret Grand Admirals.
    • Supreme Commander Gilad Pellaeon: "Supreme Commander" is actually the highest military rank in the Empire, so this properly belongs in Four-Star Badass. But "Commander" is part of the rank, so he gets a mention here. He also was a captain for a while, which is roughly equivalent to a colonel.
    • There was at least one colonel. When Wedge's wingmate Tycho Celchu took command of Rogue Squadron, he took this rank.
    • Also, before he defected to the Rebel Alliance, Soontir Fel was a Baron-Colonel. His badassery is unquestionable; after Vader's death Baron Soontir Fel was perceived as the best pilot in the Empire, bar none (and without Vader around, rumors started spreading that Vader's only edge was in his expensive custom starfighters). He lost that rank when he joined Rogue Squadron, but it may be assumed that he got it back, and more, in the Empire of the Hand after Thrawn had him kidnapped and brought there.
    • Other real colonels (okay, lieutenant colonels are among them) would be Jaina Solo (being a member of Rogue Squadron at the age of sixteen, seriously kicking around numerous Yuuzhan Vong, later on being in command of Rogue Squadron just to be court-martialed by her own twin brother whom she later on kills in a duel after he turned out to have become a Sith), her brother Jacen Solo (became head of the secret police of the Galactic Alliance, tortured Boba Fett's daghter to death, became a Sith Lord, made himself joined head of state and later on sole head of state of the Galactic Alliance, set half of Kashyyyk on fire, killed his aunt Mara etc. until his sister finally got him), and Jagged Fel (who (nearly) manages to keep up with Jaina Solo and Kyp Durron, two extremely talented Jedi pilots using a battle meld, and displays various feats of general badassery until he finally becomes the Imperial head of state).
  • Colonel Jesse Wood, from the 1632 series arguably qualifies, being the very first pilot in the new timeline created by the Ring of Fire. Because of that and his service in the uptime US Air Force, he's appointed head of downtime's new Air Force.
  • While not technically a colonel, Sharpe often fulfills a Colonel's duties as his regiment tends to go through colonels like disposable cups.
  • One does not need to be a colonel to be a total badass, especially when the titular colonel is a foppish princeling. Ask Armand Pahner of Prince Roger series.
  • Patrick McLanahan from Dale Brown's books spends some time as this in earlier books, before receiving his stars at the end of Fatal Terrain. He's not the only character in the books to go through this phase, though.
  • Colonel Rosa Klebb of the Soviet SMERSH in Ian Fleming's From Russia with Love. In the film version she defects to the terrorist organization SPECTRE and fails to kill James Bond with a poison tipped dart in her shoe but she is still a Russian agent and succeeds in poisoning Bond and almost killing him with the shoe dart at the end of the book.
  • Colonel Christopher Williams in Tranquilium. He starts out as a charming Reasonable Authority Figure the main character meets in Port Elizabeth, then quickly proves his badass credentials by showing that yes he can thwart stage one by rallying the militia to defeat the KGB-led rebellion in the town and so saving the main characters from the rebels in the process. It is subsequently revealed that he is (was, as of Part Two) also an Almighty Janitor to the Merryland government and a former FBI agent who was a literal Mulder who eventually became fed up with his superiors' adamant refusal to notice Tranquilum and Soviet shenanigans therein and went native to fight a one-man-war. He's also firmly an antihero, and an awesomely ruthless one at that, going about and taking out Soviet spies with his crack squad of Forbidders and using torture to bring down a huge part of their information network. He is also scarily good at one-shotting would-be-prominent-villains on the Soviet side, sometimes across dimensions.
  • While Aleran Legions are commanded by Captains, they don't use modern military ranks and their role tends to fit this trope better. As usual, the most Badass of the lot is Captain Rufus Scipio (a.k.a. Tavi) a Crazy Awesome Badass Normal capable of taking on Knights and Canim by himself.
  • Discworld's Commander Samuel Vimes?
  • In the Posleen War Series, there's Colonel Cutprice, a rejuvenated Medal of Honor winner and one of the most decorated Korean War veterans. Later, he's leader of the Ten Thousand, an elite fighting group arguably more badass than the ACS as a whole, as the Ten Thousand fight without the benefit of Powered Armor. It's explicitly stated that he refuses promotion above the rank of Colonel.
  • From Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, there's an unnamed Soviet colonel who only shows up in a single scene, in charge of an entire tank division after his general was killed in an air attack. Although his narrative role is to provide the perspective of a Soviet mid-ranking officer (the POV character, Alekseyev, is a Four-Star Badass, through whom we see the big picture), the colonel proves to be extremely competent at commanding his division, nearly forcing a breakthrough and stymied only by the NATO defenders' resilience and Soviet high command's insistence that only Moscow can move the strategic reserves. He is last seen as the survivor of an artillery barrage on his headquarters, surrounded by the wounded ,and still calmly giving orders to his division.
    • The also unnamed KGB colonel who set the Kremlin bomb - he later goes on to set another Kremlin bomb and kills four men with his silenced automatic. Bonus points for being a Badass Longcoat too.
  • Colonel Sir Nigel Loring of the Emberverse (also late of the Blues and Royals). In a universe where much technology (including guns) suddenly ceases to function, he helps rescue the Queen and the Royal Family, trains his troops in the "new" fighting methods, makes sure his soldiers' families are safe, makes a daring escape from captivity, comes to the aid of the Crown Prince in battle, and outwits the Lord Protector of Portland. And only then, mind you, does he hook up with the main plotline!


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Stargate SG-1 features Jack O'Neill, Samantha Carter, and Cameron Mitchell. Stargate Atlantis gives us John Sheppard.
    • In Stargate Atlantis, there's at least four colonels and lieutenant colonels, and possibly more. One episode had all of 'em arrive in the same room at once, with predictable results.
      • That scene is a reference to a scene in the SG-1 episode "Frozen", except the overused title in that one was "Doctor".
    • Colonel Everett Young in Stargate Universe would be this, if he didn't frak it up with some truly dumb-ass decisions. General O'Neill had to personally let him know that he was screwing up the Colonel Badass mantle with his actions in "Incursion", part 1.
      • Once he gets his act together though, he quickly regains the Colonel Badass status.
  • Col. Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • Col. Ed Straker in UFO. In one episode, he shoots an opponent who can travel through time and downs a UFO with a rocket launcher.
    • By that time, Straker was a "Commander" with colonels and naval Captains as subordinates. This Commander-is-the-boss idea occurs in many of the Gerry Anderson series.
  • Col. John "Hannibal" Smith from The A-Team. "Hannibal", in this case, is nothing to do with the Serial Killer, but the Carthaginian general who almost brought down the Roman Republic, brought elephants across the Alps, and created a military tactic that is still being used today.
  • Otto von Stirlitz (real name: Maxim Isaev) from Seventeen Moments of Spring, the pinnacle of a Soviet Spy Fiction, is a Standartenführer (SS equivalent of colonel). He was so badass back in his days, that he experienced a Memetic Mutation in recent times and ended up being a Memetic Badass, as well (no, seriously).
  • Kira Nerys becomes one of these in the final season of Deep Space Nine, but she was a badass since the pilot episode.
    • Usually the heroes in Star Trek tend to be Captains, but the Commander rank can't be overlooked. The first, and in some cases second officers, of the ships hold this rank. And of course, any Starfleet officer that's a Captain or higher was one. Ben Sisko of DS 9 was a Commander even though he was The Captain.
      • Some of the lower-ranking characters are Sergeant Rock, as well.
      • Especially Kirk could verge on this trope: a naval Captain does have an equivalent NATO officer code of OF-5 (the same as a Colonel), and Kirk, of course, repeatedly went down to planets himself and got into dangerous situations (it's a rare The Captain who can solve problems by punching them).
  • Col. Mace in the Sontaran episode of Doctor Who: "You will face me, sir!"
    • For that matter, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in his first serial, before he was promoted to Brigadier.
    • Bishop Octavian, of "The Time Of Angels"/"Flesh And Stone".
  • Averted by Col. Wilhelm Klink in Hogan's Heroes, although his rank might just be a foil to that of good guy group leader, Col. Hogan, who plays this trope more or less straight.
    • Perhaps ironically, in the German version of the show (Ein Käfig voller Helden) Klink gets his proper German rank of Oberst, but Hogan, as an American, is still called Colonel Hogan by everybody... thus playing the trope completely straight.
  • Subverted in [[M*A*S*H]] with ineffectual Lt. Col. Henry Blake, then played somewhat straight with his replacement, Col. Sherman T. Potter, who had massive cred as a leader of soldiers as a former enlisted man and veteran of earlier wars.
    • Truth in Television for Potter's history giving respect. People who go from NCO to officer are called "Mustangs", and enjoy great respect from enlisted personnel.
    • And Hotlips' overhyped hubby Lt. Col. Penobscot is likely a parody of this type.
    • Colonel Flagg fits this role as is evidenced in the episode where he breaks his own arm so he can infiltrate the hospital as a patient.
      • Double bonus badass: When an X-ray shows that his arm has healed sufficiently for him to be released, he pulls the X-ray camera down on his cast, shattering it and re-breaking his arm.
      • Col. Flagg would come to squander his badass credibility in later episodes, though. His behavior in later appearances became more and more erratic and paranoid; culminating in complete disgrace in his final appearance.
  • Sergeant Major Jonas Blane from The Unit, even though he's not a colonel. The show's resident colonel, Tom Ryan, is more Da Chief.
    • Sergeant Major (or his battalion staff equivalent, the Command Sergeant Major) is, of course, the Colonel Badass of Army NCOs. Any officer who doesn't give their advice careful consideration is extremely foolish.
  • The seventh season of 24 features the villainous African, Colonel Ike Dubaku of Sangala. Also a Scary Black Man.
  • The Colonel Badass page welcomes Col. John Casey of the NSA to this list.
  • Col. Mason Truman of Power Rangers RPM You definitely going to need a Colonel Badass to be in charge of the last remaining humans on Earth. His appearance in the first episode pretty much says it all: Explosions reflect in his shades. He just stands there watching over his soldiers as all hell breaks loose. When Corporal Hicks tells him they're all screwed, he just tells him to "go shoot at something."
  • Colonel T.C. McQueen from Space: Above and Beyond. He's the sole survivor of the battle between the Earth's best squadron and the Chigs. Of particular note are his last fight with "Chiggie Von Richtoffen," and his "I don't think 'our Lord' wants to hear from me right now," speech.
  • Captain Ronald Speirs filled this role in Band of Brothers. He wasn't a colonel, but as an officer, he was viewed this way by the enlisted men because of the things he said and did.
    • Maj. Richard Winters, possibly even more than Speirs since while Speirs gained respect mainly through being terrifyingly Badass, Winters was more like awe-inspiringly Badass. And Officer and a Gentleman to a T, plus greatly admired and loved by his men.
  • On Ultimate Force, Colonel Aidan Dempsey reliably kicks a lot of arse when called upon, most notably in the episodes 'Dead Is Forever', 'Never Go Back' and - particularly - 'Charlie Bravo'. In the latter, he strides through a gunfight, casually taking one-handed potshots at rebels, while exhorting his local counterpart to "Pretend you're an officer and get your men in order!"
  • Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman TV series. He gets knocked in the head with a blunt object about once per episode, but he always wakes up with no ill effects and never complains. In early episodes, he even wears military ribbons that weren't even issued until after the war ended.
  • Colonel Wilma Deering in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, who was not only a badass but H. O. T.
    • Gotta love a woman who can be a Colonel Badass while rocking a spandex catsuit.
  • The British Army Colonel character played by Graham Chapman on Monty Python's Flying Circus. He can come in and put a stop to a sketch when he thinks it's getting too silly or out of control!
  • Colonel Xavier Marks of Combat Hospital is a medical version of this trope.
  • Nate Taylor from Terra Nova, played by none other than Stephen Lang. Due to strange time dilations, he had to spend 118 days alone in the Cretaceous Period, and doesn't even have any visible scars. And he still goes toe to toe with carnivorous dinosaurs to protect his people.
  • Strike Back has Colonel Grant who normally commands the team from the command center but when a things go to hell she goes into the field and saved the day herself. She even commandeers an arms dealer's team of mercenaries to go and rescue a member of her team trapped in southern Sudan.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in the BBC Edge of Darkness, where just about all the spooks seems to be colonels.
  • Colonel Tigh of the Battlestar Galactica. Whether leading a resistance group on New Caprica or wielding two automatic rifles while fighting mutineers, the guy is BADASS. Bonus: he rocks the Eyepatch of Power.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In order to make it to colonel in the Imperial Guard of Warhammer 40,000, hefty portions of this trope are required.
    • Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken, Commander of the 2nd Catachan Infantry Regiment. He was badass enough to begin with, being from the Death World of Catachan, known for producing some of the toughest soldiers in the Imperium. Then he got attacked by a Miral land shark that tore off his arm. Instead of say, dying like a lesser man would, he tore the beast's throat out with his teeth (altho some say he just exagerated, and actually used his "fang"-pattern combat knife). He then had his arm replaced with a bionic one, and continued commanding his men. Since then he's survived multiple life-threathnign injuries and his body is riddled with bionics, makign him as much a machine as a man. He's as tough as a space marine, can punch straight through armour, and destroy tanks with his bare hands (mechanical hands, but still, that's impressive).
      • And all this goes Quintuple for Space Marines, whose equivalent, Captain, is fully capable of going face-to-face with a genetically engineered, 18 foot-tall alien killing machine and winning.
      • And their equivalent among the Grey Knights, who are designed to eat thirty-foot suspiciously-balrog-like incarnations of the Chaos God of slaughter for lunch. Though until the Daemonhunters codex is updated, this is an example of Gameplay and Story Segregation as GK Brother-Captains technically have a Weapon Skill of 5 vs. 6 for normal SM Captains.
      • The Canonesses, leaders of the Sisters of Battle, arguably one up the Space Marine captains because they do the same things—only they aren't genetically modified, hormonally modified, chemically modified, all-powerful superhumans... they're just biologically ordinary humans (one of the weakest races in the galaxy) females who happen to be that damn good essentially through skill alone.
  • Rifts has Col. Buck Murphy, a hotshot SAMAS (flying Powered Armor) Pilot who has an impressive combat record, and is A Father to His Men.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Col. Sawyer from World in Conflict. While we never see him in the field, in that scene where he is shot by sniper (who misses by a few inches), he is just too stoic. And he is fluent in French, too.
  • The lieutenant colonels in the second Wing Commander were Ace Pilots, without exceptions. Colonel Halcyon, however, acts more as a commander rather than a pilot.
    • And of course there's Colonel Blair himself, from WC3 and WC4. Having killed the most "ace" Kilrathi pilots in the entire three decade war, and defeating Prince Thrakhath, twice (the second time when Blair's fighter is weighed down with the Temblor Device, which also halved his missile loadout), is one way of earning Badass points. He later gets promoted to Four-Star Badass
  • Col. Corazon Santiago from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: military genius, knows how to run a police state properly, and hot to boot.
  • Colonel from Mega Man X and his Net Navi counterpart in Mega Man Battle Network are both pretty awesome.
    • It's required for the former, seeing as his Rival is the resident Badass...
  • Col. Burton, the US hero unit in Command & Conquer: Generals and Zero Hour. Kills enemy mooks with a machine gun, sets timed demolition charges (or can destroy an entire base at once with his remote), is Invisible to Normals, starts avalanches, and, due to an early bug, killed aircraft with a knife.
    • Though he was only a captain during Renegade, Nick "Havoc" Parker was ultimately promoted to colonel before his retirement, in spite of his antics ont he battlefield.
  • Col. Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss. He starts out approximately 45 levels ahead of the other characters, is far stronger physically than most other black mages, and is 35 years old. In a JRPG. Still kicks the ass of a God-General after getting sealed down to the level of the rest of your party.
    • Even when Jade gets hit with a Fon Slot Seal, he doesn't lose any of his awesomeness. In fact, it's by traveling with the party that he can learn the Meteor Storm spell. And Indignation.
    • He's also the ultimate Deadpan Snarker, and almost completely unflappable, something shown time and time again as a contrast to the other characters. His badassery isn't just in fighting, it's also in the fact that he can stand in the middle of a raging volcano and appears not to sweat. Although that could just be the Convection, Schmonvection in effect.
  • Col. Volgin of the GRU from Metal Gear Solid 3. Yes, he's evil. Doesn't detract one bit from his badassitude.
    • Also from Metal Gear Solid, we have Col. Roy Campbell. Even when he retires, Snake not only continues to respect him, he even refers to him as "Colonel"... over Campbell's explicit objections. And in the original MGS? He gave orders to Solid Snake.
  • Heidern. He's only appeared in four of the games, and he's a freaking god. Imagine what happens when you give a character similar to Guile absurd priority in attacks, the ability suck the life out of his opponents and give it to himself, and has no "magical" justification for his abilities. SNK developers worried people might think he was an alien or a wizard. His adopted daughter Leona takes after him quite well (and replaces him after '95). He clearly takes a few cues from the colonel from Fist of the North Star.
    • Technically, Ralf (who's under his command) hold the rank of colonel as well.
  • Rolento from Final Fight (who later appears in Street Fighter Alpha) is quite badass.
  • Col. Hoffman from Gears of War, at least in the sequel. Prior to that, he was more of a General Ripper type, at least toward Marcus, until Marcus redeemed himself.
  • Maybe to appeal to players' potential Munchkin desires and knowledge of this trope - you are referred to as 'Colonel' for your military rank in EndWar.
  • The abilities of soldiers in X-COM: Ufo Defense generally improve as they survive more missions, as does their rank. The rank of colonel is the second highest in the game, next to the commander which you can only get one of at any time.
  • Shepard from Mass Effect is a commander and, of course, very Badass. The character quickly receives command of the Cool Ship and is therefore upgraded to The Captain, but is still called "Commander" and is a certified badass all along.
  • Subverted by Captain Price from Modern Warfare, who displays the amount of sheer badassitude commonly seen only in colonels, yet is still inexplicably a "mere" captain. Had he not been held prisoner by the Russians for five years, though, he may have well been promoted to colonel by MW 2.
  • Colonel Hyuga from the original Shadow Hearts is playable only briefly, but manages to annihilate a squadron of thugs due to his souped-up stats. He then proceeds to save an old man and befriend a child.
  • Another chance for the player to pick up this trope: if you play as the United Earth Federation officer in Supreme Commander Forged Alliance, you're referred to only as the colonel, having been promoted from Major in between the original game and the expansion. The more informal Cybrans only have two ranks that anyone ever hears about, so their player is always just commander, and the Aeon player is either Knight of the Illuminate or the Champion of the Princess, depending on where they are in the storyline. Both Cybran and Aeon players remain every bit as badass as their UEF counterpart, though.
  • Colonel Augustus Autumn, Fallout 3. Autumn is not a particularly strong opponent (he is only slightly more durable than the average human, and his only armor is his trench coat), and he doesn't often appear during the game. This would make you think he doesn't qualify for this trope... until you realize that the troops under his command—which form the power-armored, plasma-rifle-wielding striking arm of the Enclave—were so loyal to him that they, to a man, defected with him when he mutinied against the President. The. President. The leader of the Enclave. Either Autumn either has some very impressive leadership skills, or everyone really hates bureaucrats.
    • Additionally, he somehow survives a dose of radiation that kills you no matter how many anti-rad meds you take.
      • Just before he falls on the floor,you can see him injecting something into his arm, maybe it's some kind of super-duper high-tech Enclave Rad-X?
  • Colonel Cassandra Moore in Fallout: New Vegas. She's the commander of the garrison at Hoover Dam, within spitting distance of a massive enemy troop buildup on the east side of the dam. General Ripper-esque, ball-busting, credentials in the form of four campaigns against the Brotherhood of Steel during the NCR's war with them.
    • She's also an ex-Ranger for added badass points.
  • Col. Randall Moore from Universe At War: Earth Assault, although he gets promoted to General by the second mission. It takes a lot of badass to be a powerful hero unit when literally everyone else in your species is Cannon Fodder or, even worse, resources for the alien invaders.
  • Colonel Tendon Cobar and Colonel Mael Radec are with the bad guys, but they're both badass enough to show you how they've earned their ranks. Templar, while promoted to colonel in Killzone 2, doesn't quite make the cut.
  • Sergei Vladimir from Resident Evil, former Soviet colonel and head of Umbrella Corporation's field-oriented Red Umbrella Division. Strangely, he's somewhat Affably Evil and usually lets his bodyguards do most of the actual fighting, but even that doesn't diminish his badassery. The man pulls a gun on Wesker without flinching, transforms into a monster to try and save his employer's company, and has so much presence that his Badass status is never in doubt. No one does Undying Loyalty quite like Sergei.
  • In Just Cause 2, you get to take down various colonels who carry good firepower and are Made of Iron enough to shrug off bullets to anywhere except the face.
  • Cpt. Keyes from Halo. Sure, in the games he only gives you your first gun, but in the books he's epic. He takes a soldier's pistol and blasts an invisible Elite in one shot right after escaping the locked-in-landing Pillar of Autumn, and manages to survive for a remarkable time on the Halo ring.
  • The upcoming Ace Combat: Assault Horizon will give us a USAF Colonel for the protagonist and a Russian Colonel for the antagonist. You just know this is gonna be epic.
  • Colonel Relius Clover of BlazBlue. Puppeteer extraordinary and is one of the people that is quite possibly the closest one that can be said to be Hazama's superior other than the Imperator. Oh and he's one hell of a bastard.
  • Colonel Sanger Zonvolt of Super Robot Wars fame. Pilot of a giant mech, a German samurai and all-round badass. What's not to like about this guy?
  • Lt. Colonel Burns of Vanquish is a massive dude with cybernetics up the wazoo touting a big ol' minigun as his main weapon.
  • The Big Bad of Contra Hard Corps, Colonel Bahamut is a Disgraced war hero who plans to take over the world by using Alien DNA. Perhaps the best example of the Colonel's badassness is the path where he fights the player while wearing a gigantic claw arm.
  • Jax from the Mortal Kombat series fits this trope to a tee.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Nobuo Iwasaki and Samachi Nomura are very competent colonels although the former doesn't show it unless he's forced to act.
  • Tech Infantry has Colonel Arthur Clarke, commanding officer of the Raptors, an elite military unit tasked with chasing down and arresting (or killing) draft-dodging Werewolves and Mages, as well as other secret operations. His successor, Colonel Andrea Treschi, is quite the badass himself.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi no Yaku-Asobi has Colonel Harriet Isuzu, an alternate Haruhi who works for a multi-dimensional paramilitary law enforcement agency that monitors sliding. Possible subversion in that soldiers from her home dimension's military look down on said agency and thus smugly refer to her as 'agent'. Her rival from the intelligence department, Colonel Sascha Sakisa also counts, being quite the Trickster.
  • Standartenführer Rhianna von Adolph from Open Blue is a constantly smiling Knife Nut who is in charge of the special operations division of Sirene's intelligence agency. She is also The Captain of two ships.
  • Colonel Thomas Knowlton in The Dreamer.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Lt. J.T. Marsh in Exo Squad gets promoted to Wing Commander around the time he becomes acknowledged as the single best Ace Pilot of the Solar System. Wg.Cdr. is the air force equivalent of infantry's Lt.Col.
  • King of the Hill's Cotton Hill. The guy took fiddy bullets to the back while lost at sea, managed to survive an ambush by an entire island full of Japanese troops, then proceeded to kill all of them with a piece of one of his deceased friends even though both his shins were blown off by machine gun fire; thus completes his famous deed of having killed fiddy men during WWII.
    • Don't forget the time he took out a Japanese machine-gun nest by hiding in a barrel of sake, holding his breath until the guards got drunk, then leaping out and 'hibachi-ing' the entire group by blowing sake out over his zippo.
    • Cotton is more of a subversion. True, he lost his shins, but his story...just doesn't add up. He mentioned Fatty was killed by sharks...yet he then mentions he used Fatty to beat the life out of the Japanese. Also, he claims to fought in both Munich and Okinawa in just mere days of each other. He's more Small Name, Big Ego like than anything.
      • As Hank pointed out to Peggy, even though Cotton is fond of exaggerating his accomplishments he is still the greatest war hero Arlen had ever seen. Cotton was awarded a Medal of Honor, after all, and we know he was in the 77th Division which fought in Guam, Okinawa and the Phillipines, all of which have been cited by Cotton as locations he fought at.


Real Life[edit | hide]

In General[edit | hide]

  • Pretty much a given with any colonel (discounting the Modern Major-General-types who got their position through connections or nepotism, where those are still practiced) due to the fact that acquiring such a rank implies a successful military career, which in turn is generally due to the fact that this individual is physically and intellectually in top form. The fact that pretty much all military training involves, in some fashion, learning how to kill people doesn't hurt, either.
    • Can be said to be subverted in the British and Commonwealth Armies, where a full Colonel is a staff rank only, and does not command a formation. There is thus a history of shunting not so competent Lt-Colonel's into this rank, whereas a more badass Lt-Colonel would get promoted directly to Brigadier.
      • That has been more common in history then one might think. Originally Colonel simply meant roughly warlord. He was the constitutional monarch of a merc band. When regular armies evolved they evolved simply by colonels taking permanent service to a given monarch. Many times they were absentee colonels being on other assignments or sometimes not even soldiers. Basically being colonel of an eighteenth century regiment was like owning a baseball team.
  • In the Soviet and Russian military, the equivalent of the four-star general rank is called General-Colonel. Not to mention that all three ranks from OF-3 to OF-5 are known as "The Captain" (in three grades). Russians like this trope.
    • Though the actual shoulder insignia they wore had three large General's stars. Coincidentally, normal colonels wear three medium-sized stars, and lieutenant colonel's two.

Specific People[edit | hide]

  • The little-advertised fact about Vladimir Putin is that he is a colonel of the reserve. And he's a black belt in judo.
  • Otto Skorzeny. Played in Team Evil, but remained badass until his death.
  • George Washington was a colonel during his time fighting for the British during the French and Indian War, and his Badass exploits earned him enough distinction to be appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolution.
    • Not to mention eventually becoming the First President of the United States of America. How's that for bad ass colonel?
  • Lt.Col Jack Churchill. The man who fought the Nazis with a bow, arrows, and a claymore. The Germans eventually captured him by killing his entire commando squad with mortar fire; when they finally moved in, they found him sitting there, alone, playing the bagpipes.
Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.
—Lieutenant Colonel Jack Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, DSO, MC
    • And after getting sent to two different concentration camps[1] and escaping both times, he returned to Britain ready to go back to the battlefield. Unfortunately, the war ended before he got there, and that pissed him off. Apparently, he wasn't done killing yet. Time in Dachau would launch anybody on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Lt.Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Son of the first Black general in the U.S. Armed Forces, he led a WWII fighter plane group known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The baddest fighter pilots in damn near ANY war. Oh, and he was the first Black general in the U.S. Air Force.
    • His dad was the first US black general, period—and he started as a private.
  • Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Netanyahu of the Israeli Defense Forces, who, among other things, led the ground team during the Entebbe Airport Raid to rescue the hostages of an Air France flight. He died in the attempt (and was the only military Israeli fatality of the raid) and is a national hero in Israel.
    • Lieutenant Colonel Netanyahu's brother is Benjamin Netanyahu. This might explain why Benjamin is always so angry.
  • Colonel Avi Peled commander of the golani Infantry brigade, who after having a building collapse on top of him and 20 of his soldiers after a tank shell hit it by accident, took over the evacuation process of all of his injured soldiers despite being wounded himself, was the last one evacuated to a hospital, and then returned to the battlefield the very next day.
  • Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was a decorated war hero before he masterminded the July 20, 1944 plot. Also a Handicapped Badass, though this handicap was arguably the cause of his ultimate failure.
  • The famous Special Operations division Delta Force was founded by Colonel Charles Beckwith. He was badass enough to take a .50 cal round through the torso and survive with only basic medical aid (as the doctors couldn't waste time on someone who was "clearly" going to die).
  • Lt. Colonel James Doolittle of the famous Doolittle Raids.
  • Colonel Frederick Drew Gregory, USAF, retired. The first Black man to pilot the space shuttle, and the first to command a space shuttle mission. This makes him The Captain, an Ace Pilot, and a Colonel Badass, all in one.
  • Chesty Puller of the US Marine Corps and namesake of the Corps' bulldog mascot. The Marines have been telling Chuck Norris facts about Puller before anyone had heard of Norris.
    • Chesty is still considered a badass by today's Marines, and at Parris Island they end their day by saying, "Good night Chesty Puller, wherever you are!"
    • He's also the most decorated Marine in the history of the Corps. Basically the only medal this guy doesn't have is the Medal of Honor, and that's just because he didn't kiss ass and refused to play political games.
      • Though pretty much everything that came out of his mouth proved he was a badass, he famously said this about being surrounded during the Korean War:
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people and killing them."
—More pithily put as: "They're to the left of us, the right of us, they're behind us, they're in front of us -- they won't get away this time!"
  • Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith, Australian Army. Known for his real-life Conservation of Ninjutsu in the Vietnam War.
  • Ken Reusser, a USMC fighter pilot in three different wars (World War Two, Korean War, and Vietnam War), who retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel. Probably one of the most badass feats he performed was downing a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft that was reporting on US positions for Kamikaze attacks, flying about 1000 feet above the theoretical ceiling of its pursuers. Him and his wingman both had their guns malfunction, so they used the props of their F4U Corsairs to chew up the Japanese aircraft's tail to take it down.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, A.K.A. Lawrence of Arabia.
  • Colonel David Hackworth (retired, deceased), also known as the most decorated US Army Officer of the 20th century. 110 separate medals, of which the following were for heroism: eight Purple Hearts, two Distinguished Service Crosses, nine Silver Stars, seven Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and the Valorous Unit Award. The only medal he didn't have was the Congressional Medal of Honor, which it is said he didn't get only because he annoyed several Modern Major Generals by criticising the Army's practices later in his career. He served in 12 separate wars, from the end of World War II right through to conflict in Yugoslavia. His initial request to be deployed in the Vietnam War was turned down because he had too much combat experience.
    • In a controversy, CBS accused him of claiming awards he didn't earn. In response, he requested a formal audit from the U.S. Army. They found out they hadn't awarded him enough Silver Stars - Silver Stars are the third highest decoration for combat heroism, it's a massive honor to be awarded just one. He has ten.
  • Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain commanded the 20th Maine during the Civil War, and was in charge of the Union left flank at the Battle of Gettysburg, day two. He is best known for calling "BAYONETS!" and ordering a charge downhill into the Confederate lines when his men ran out of ammo. It worked. The Union won.
  • Colonels Leonard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry ("Rough Riders"). Badasses both.
  • Colonel Rick Rescorla - Served in Africa with the British Army, joined the US army in the mid-1960's and served in Vietnam, one of the hero's of the Battle of Ia Drang (Although he was written out of the movie version of We Were Soldiers...), was killed on 9/11 going back in with three subordinates to attempt to save the last 2 missing employees of Morgan Stanley (for whom he was the Head of Security at the World Trade Centre) but succeeded in getting the other 2700 employees safely out (who he organized the evacuation of, and he stood around singing Men of Harlech over a megaphone while supervising the evacuation). Was a US Army Reserve Colonel on 9/11.
    • It's worth noting that he oversaw the evacuation of his company's employees during both World Trade Center attacks, including the 1993 truck bombing. He also tragically was The Cassandra, trying to convince the Morgan Stanley higher-ups to move their offices to a less vulnerable location in New Jersey, which they decided not to do until the lease expired in 2006. A big part of their successful evacuation was that he insisted on regular evacuation drills.
  • Colonel Ulf Henricsson, Swedish Army, commanded the first Swedish mechanized UN battalion to be deployed in the Bosnian war in the early 1990s and displayed a Pattonian attitude towards the situation in his area of responsibility. Once he personnally cleared a road from anti-tank mines just to show the local warlords that he would take no crap from them. His actions earned him the loyalty of his men and set fear in the regional militias and bandits, who never had expected Blue Berets to intervene so forcefully. (Sweden rarely decorates its officers, but Henricsson got the highest one available for peacetime bravery and competence, plus rapid promotions.)
  • Lt Colonel John Frost was the British Army's go to guy for impossible airborne missions. After proving himself by stealing a German radar station from occupied France, Frost went on to perform similarly daring missions in North Africa and Sicily. However his Crowning Moment of Awesome came during the Battle of Arnhem as part of Operation Market Garden where he was tasked with securing the Arnhem Bridge. Although ultimately doomed by the poorly conceived operation, John Frost and a small force of some 400 lightly armed paratroopers managed to penitrate German lines and sieze the north end of the bridge where he held out against an entire German SS Panzer division for 4 days until finally being forced to surrender due to lack of ammunition. Lt Col. Frost was later depicted in a movie and had Arnhem Bridge renamed in his honor.
  • Lieutenant Commander Patrick Dalzel-Job. His rank equates closer to Major, but nevertheless his Naval Intelligence Commando unit (basically British Navy SEALs) stormed German targets four days after D-Day and disabled a German destroyer at port (with its whole crew compliment) and then captured the town of Bremen. His boss was Ian Fleming, and many consider him one of the models for James Bond.
  • Titus Cornelius was a former Black slave who fought in the American Revolution for the British. Although the British did not allow Blacks to be officers, let alone reach the rank of Colonel, he nevertheless was known and referred to as Colonel Tye. His guerilla-tactics were legendarily effective, even so far as helping hold off George Washington troops in their first siege of New York. Most historians agree that had he been white (and, y'know, not fought for the British) he'd have been far more famous today. Side note, there is a rumor that his name inspired a certain other Colonel Badass from Battlestar Galactica.
  • Lloyd L. Burke received the Medal of Honor in the Korean war for his actions at Hill 200. He was on his way home when he heard his platoon was pinned down so he went back to them. After assessing the situation he stormed a Chinese trench with a pistol and a hand grenade. After using those up, he got out and grabbed a Browning 1919, ignored the shrapnel that shredded his hand, wrapped his jacket around the hot barrel, wrapped the ammunition belt around his body, lifted the 31 pound machine gun (normally used on a tripod), and proceeded to storm the trench again. He was only a Lieutenant at the time, but he achieved the rank of Colonel before he retired, so he counts.
  • Many of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's claims to badassitude occurred when he was a Colonel in the reserves, in particular defending the key pass whose loss would have probably made the Gallipoli campaign in World War I succeed. Even after the Ottoman Empire ultimately lost, he continued being a badass as a soldier and then the founder of modern Turkey, until he died.
  • Colonel David Randolph Scott, seventh man on the moon and the only Air Force pilot to actually pilot a moon landing (the rest of the Apollo commanders were Navy men).
  • Lieutenant Colonel John U. D. Page, an artillery officer who served in the Korean War and recieved the Medal of Honor for his actions. In just 12 days of combat service, he singlehandedly took out an enemy MG nest, commanded tanks while also acting as a tank machine gunner , performed an aerial attack with hand grenades in an unarmed observation plane, and saved an ambushed logistics regiment from their Chinese attackers. In this last action, he was eventually killed, but not before taking at least 16 enemy soldiers with him.
  • Colonel Buzz Aldrin (USAF), the second man to land on the Moon (but not the highest ranked officer to ever walk on the Moon - that's Alan Shepard or Charles Duke), and effective silencer of Moon landing hoax advocates. Other Colonels who've landed on the Moon include David Scott and James Irwin - the rest are divided between Navy Captains and civilians.
  • Lt. Colonel Anatoly Lebed'. 29 years of service, first as a paratrooper in Afghanistan, then entered an officers school, flew a helicopter there, first as a tech, then as a pilot until his retirement. But as he couldn't imagine himself as anyone but soldier, when Chechen war started he basically reenlisted himself, served again as a paratrooper officer and got a reputation as Father to His Men there. Then he got blown on a mine, had his foot amputated, but returned to duty in just one year on a prosthesis. Then, to up the ante, when his patrol got ambushed and he suffered a serious shrapnel wound, he basically just ignored it until his unit got back to safety. The guy's also an accomplished engineer, designing and building a lot of his unit[2] equipment and gear, like the combat buggies and such.
  • Lt. Colonel Herbert Jones VC OBE. During the Falklands war his battalion was stalled under heavy small-arms fire from entrenched positions and being further pinned by increasing artillery fire. Realizing that he couldn't afford to loose momentum, Lt. Colonel H. Jones charged the fortified enemy position under concentrated fire, getting knocked back once, but continuing until he died feet from the enemy. His men later charged, galvanized by his sacrifice. The enemy surrendered due to the heroics he displayed personally and simultaneously inspired in his men.
  • Charles Lindbergh, colonel in the Army Air Force, first man to fly solo across the Atlantic, and combat veteran of World War II (even though at that point he was a civilian).
  • Colonel Dave Belote, base commander of Nellis AFB and five-time Jeopardy! champion.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Danny Mcknight of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He was deployed to Somalia and participated in the infamous Battle of Mogadishu, in which seventeen American Soldiers died and hundreds of Somali militia were killed. LTC McKnight was famous for not taking cover when he got shot at, figuring that if he got killed, God wanted him in heaven. Also in the movie.
  • Daniel Morgan, leader of a unit of sharpshooters in the American Revolution.
  • An aversion comes from the time when Colonels were first CEOs and later ceremonial warleaders of a mercenary band, and a colonel did not even have to be a soldier let alone a sioldier from that particular regiment because it was lieutenant colonels and majors that actually led them in battle. In fact a colonel could very much resemble an American baseball team owner that just owns it because he is rich and likes baseball. Much of this tradition is still maintained in Commonwealth regiments.
  1. Sachsenhausen and Dachau
  2. The legendary 45'th ORP SpN VDV, which is as close to Russian Army admitting the unit being the part of the feared GRU Spetsnaz as it gets