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A lieutenant colonel in the Army is an officer who is one step above a major and one step below a colonel, according to the U.S. Army. The insignia he wears on his uniform is a silver oak leaf. Reaching this status can take as many as 16 to 22 years, says Military-Ranks.org. Many career officers who leave the service after 20 years hold this rank at retirement. How much money he earns at this rank depends on how many years he's served and any additional pay he's entitled to.
Becoming an Officer
The path to becoming a lieutenant colonel begins with becoming an officer. There are four options to becoming an officer. The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, offers training and scholarship opportunities for students entering or already in college, because all officers must have a four-year degree. Candidates who qualify may choose to enroll in the U.S. Military Academy, where students will earn their degrees while training to become military officers. Degree holders may choose the Officer Candidate School route, which involves 12 weeks of training in Fort Benning, Ga. Those who hold bachelor's degrees or greater in fields such as law or medicine can enter OCS and emerge as directly commissioned officers who hold ranks commensurate with their education.
What They Do
Officers at this level are at the grade of second field officers. They serve as commanders over battalions made up of anywhere from 300 to 1,000 soldiers. To help them, lieutenant colonels have a support system made of majors, noncommissioned officers and a command sergeant major. Because of the tremendous amount of responsibility attached to this rank, candidates receive promotions to these positions based on their level of experience and the leadership qualities they've displayed during their careers.
Lieutenant colonels started out with a base pay of $4,893 a month as of 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Basic pay increases relative to how many years you serve in the Army. Monthly income goes up every two years until it caps at $8,313.30 a month. Earning more than this means pressing forward to another promotion, which would be colonel at pay grade O-6. Pay grades are the military's way of systematizing rank with pay. The "O" stands for "officer."
In theory, a lieutenant colonel could earn an additional $2,449.15 a month if he qualified, as of 2013. Going on a tour of duty that takes him away from his family can earn him $250 a month. He may qualify for $223.84 a month for a food allowance and anywhere from $33 to $1,500.30 in personal allowances to offset living costs, based on how many dependents he has. Hazardous duty pay is $250 a month for aircrew and $150 a month for general hazardous duty, like neutralizing explosives or handling hazardous materials. Undergoing hostile fire adds $225 to monthly pay.
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- Military-Ranks.org: Army Lieutenant Colonel
- U.S. Department of Defense: The United States Military Officer Rank Insignia
- Military-Ranks.org: United States Army Pay (Ordered by Seniority)
- U.S. Army: About the Army: Ranks and Insignia
- U.S. Army: How to Become an Army Officer
- Military-Ranks.org: Lieutenant Colonel Salary -- Army Pay 2013
Brooke Julia has been a writer since 2009. Her work has been featured in regional magazines, including "She" and "Hagerstown Magazine," as well as national magazines, including "Pregnancy & Newborn" and "Fit Pregnancy."