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Main article: "Colonel (title)
Some people known as "colonels" are actually recipients of honorary colonel ranks from a state governor and are not officers of the U.S. military. In the 19th century the honorary colonels were military appointments and they still are nominally appointed to governor's staff, but without military rights or duties. Famous honorary colonels include Colonel "Harland Sanders of "KFC fame, a "Kentucky colonel; "Colonel Tom Parker, "Elvis Presley's manager, who received the honor from a "Louisiana governor; and "Edward M. House, known as Colonel House, a Texas honorary colonel and adviser to President "Woodrow Wilson.
Famous American colonels
- "Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin – Second person to step on the moon.
- "Charlie Beckwith – Founder of "1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, the Army's elite top-secret "special forces detachment.
- "John Boyd – Air Force fighter pilot and military strategist. Responsible for developing EM theory ("Energy-Maneuverability theory), a method of determining the performance capabilities of a prospective fighter [plane] before production. Boyd also developed and espoused the concept of the "OODA Loop, a decision making process now perceived as highly relevant to strategic and tactical action in both military and business operations. It favors agility and maneuverability in making rapid decisions to confound the opposition. Boyd also was one of the chief architects of "Operation Desert Storm, during the Gulf War, transforming it from its initial concept as a frontal assault into a maneuverability war.
- "Anthony G. Brown – "Lieutenant Governor of Maryland (2007–2015) and Commander of the 153rd Legal Support Organization in "Pennsylvania; formerly the highest-ranking elected official in the nation to have served a tour of duty in Iraq; Co-Chair of the "Obama/Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the "Department of Veterans Affairs.
- "Alexander Butterfield – U.S. Air Force colonel who became an aide to "President Nixon and was later appointed administrator of the "Federal Aviation Administration. Cooperated with prosecutors during the "Watergate scandal.
- "Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain – Commander of the "20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment at "Gettysburg.
- "Jeff Cooper – World War II and Korean War veteran and "The Father of Modern Shooting."
- "John Jackson Dickison – led the "Confederate forces which captured the "USS Columbine, in the only known incident in US history where a cavalry unit sank an enemy gunboat.
- "Federico Fernández Cavada – Union Army colonel who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg and later became the Commander-in-Chief of Cuban forces during the Ten Years' War.
- "Wesley L. Fox – "United States Marine Corps recipient of the "Medal of Honor.
- "John Glenn – Marine Corps aviator, served in Korea, astronaut and U.S. Senator.
- "Ambrosio José Gonzales – Cuban revolutionary who fought for the US annexation of Cuba before serving as a colonel in the "CSA.
- "David Hackworth – Served in Korea and Vietnam, an author and military media consultant. Formerly the highest decorated living soldier.
- "Jack H. Jacobs – Served in Vietnam, recipient of the "Medal of Honor.
- "Henry Knox – As colonel of the Continental Regiment of Artillery in 1776, he brought guns from "Ft. Ticonderoga to "Dorchester Heights, forcing the British out of "Boston the next morning. Later, "President Washington made him "Secretary of War as part of the first "Presidential Cabinet in America. He also served in "Washington's crossing of the Delaware River for the "Battle of Trenton.
- "W. Patrick Lang Retired Special Forces officer, Commentator on the Middle East. Intelligence Executive, and Author
- "Robert E. Lee – Led the raid against "John Brown at "Harpers Ferry, Commanding general of the "Confederate army.
- "Ed McMahon – "United States Marine Corps aviator and television personality.
- "Martha McSally – "United States Air Force first American woman to fly in combat.
- "Virgil R. Miller – Regimental commander of the "442d Regimental Combat Team (RCT), a unit which was composed of ""Nisei" (second generation Americans of Japanese descent), during "World War II. He led the 442nd in its rescue of the "Lost Texas Battalion of the "36th Infantry Division, in the forests of the Vosges Mountains in northeastern "France.
- "John Mosby - Confederate Army cavalry leader who was known for his innovation of guerilla tactics and unconventional warfare.
- "William Moultrie – Defended Ft. Sullivan (later to be named "Ft. Moultrie in honor of the colonel) against British attack in 1776; his "regiment was later absorbed by the "Continental Army, and he was promoted to "brigadier general.
- "William Wilson Quinn – Served under Patton during World War II and received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and became a Knight and Officer of the "National Order of the Legion of Honor; he also was the commanding officer of the 17th Infantry during the Korean War, which he served two years in. He participated in the "Battle of the Bulge and captured "Hermann Goring and arrived at Dachau the day after it was liberated. After the war Quinn played a key role in forming the CIA.
- "Felix Rodriguez – A former Central Intelligence Agency officer infamous for his involvement in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, in the interrogation and execution of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, and his ties to George H. W. Bush during the Iran-Contra Affair.
- "Theodore Roosevelt – "1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, recipient of the "Medal of Honor, and later 26th "President of the United States.
- "Henry Rutgers – Revolutionary War colonel - philanthropist and namesake of "Rutgers University.
- "Robert Gould Shaw – Commander of the "African American Army Regiment, the "54th Massachusetts.