An honorary military commission is considered by some to be the American equivalent of being knighted. The honorary title of Colonel is conferred by some states in the United States of America. The origins of the titular colonelcy can be traced back to colonial and antebellum times when men of the landed gentry were given the title for financing the local militia without actual expectations of command. This practice can actually be traced back to the English Renaissance when a colonelcy was purchased by a lord or prominent gentleman but the actual command would fall to a lieutenant colonel, who would deputize for the proprietor. It has come to be associated in popular culture with the image of the aristocratic Southern gentleman, not least because of one of the most famous Kentucky Colonels, Harland D. Sanders.
The State of Georgia, under the provisions of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated 38-2-111, commissions individuals into the Governor’s personal staff with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The commission is active from the commencement of the Governor’s term of office until that term expires – in my case, under Governor Nathan Deal, between 2011 and 2019.