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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, they have 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, they're gonna be a colonel. (which is pronounced "kernel" by the way)

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 is a professional, Married to the Job, and mission accomplishment is the entire purpose of his existence. He 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 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.

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 and Commanding Coolness are just a notch lower while The Captain is its equal in naval terms, while the next step up is Four-Star Badass.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Col. Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist, as seen on the page image above. He BURNS HIS OWN WOUNDS SHUT and by the end of the series, he manages to personally take down two 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.
    • In the 2003 anime version, he even beats the Führer, another example of him taking down a Homunculus.
    • 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.
    • Basque Grand. He's A Father to His Men who leads from the front, transmutes entire buildings into weapons while delivering hamtastic lines, accepts the surrender of Ishval's high clerics 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 best mustaches known to man.
      • What makes it more impressive is that he had been firmly entrenched in the minds of the fans as a General Ripper by the 2003 anime's portrayal.
    • While Major Armstrong is never promoted due to his compassion for the enemy, in the 2003 anime version he eventually gets promoted to Lt. Col.
    • Also in the 2003 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.
  • Standartenführer Rudol von Stroheim from Jojos Bizarre Adventure, after he was resurrected from the dead and brought back to life as a cyborg. While initially introduced as callous and cruel, he reveals a powerful sense of bravery when the going gets tough, even going as far as cutting off his leg and blowing himself up with a grenade in order to bring Santana out to the light. His new body lets him stand against the Pillar Man, Kars, and he even pulls a Big Damn Heroes near the end of the arc. His nationalism and military strength show for the rest of his life before finally falling in 1943 at the battle of Stalingrad.
  • Lt.Col. Hayate Yagami in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. 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.
    • To make the point clear: the few times she takes the field and uses her powers, everyone on her side is told to evacuate and get the hell out of there. Even Nanoha gets out of the way.
  • Col. Richard Burton in Madlax single-handedly prevented a worldwide supernatural catastrophe despite having no supernatural powers himself.
  • Col. Sanders is the preferred nickname of one of the most powerful fighters in Negima! Magister Negi Magi 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 Manly Facial Hair, 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.
  • The commander of the Umibozu, a Navy special forces team that goes up against Section Nine at the end of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex's first season, is addressed as Taisa: Colonel, though since he's Navy, his rank proper would be Captain. (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?
  • The Rose of Versailles: 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 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 Mobile Suit Gundam Wing all notable officers in OZ save Noin are colonels, Treize in particular seems aware of this, maintaining the rank of colonel even after conquering the Earth twice.
      • 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 Sphere Alliance.
    • Naturally, most of these guys all have the Colonel Badass-in name Ramba Ral to thank for all of this. Only a lieutenant, he was still awesome and has often been paired with Norris as a dynamic duo of doom.
  • Col. Paya Livingston from Magical Witch Punie-chan. 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 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.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Well, not Colonel Badass but more Major Badass, Major Misato Katsuragi. Especially in End of Evangelion.
    • She's referred to as Lt. Col. Katsuragi in Rebuild of Evangelion, however. So this trope qualifies.
      • This particular differentiation between Major and Lieutenant Colonel is significant in the Rebuild continuity. Unlike the Misato in the original series, who is only ranked as a major and is therefore frequently excluded from the confidential intel available to the highest personnel (Gendo, Ritsuko, and Fuyutsuki), the Rebuild Misato is considerably more informed due to her higher rank. As opposed to how series!Misato searches futilely for answers and only later is revealed the truth about Lilith along with Shinji, the Rebuild makes this change in order to allow Misato herself to try to convince Shinji to pilot the Eva by showing him the top-secret Lilith.
  • Maiden Rose: 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.
    • It's highly implied that Smoker's been offered promotions before, but turned them down. Either that or the higher ups considered him too much of a loose cannon to risk on the Grand Line. Then Smoker met Luffy and started to chase after him INTO the Grand Line. Post-Time Skip, Smoker is now a Vice-Admiral, the third highest rank of the entire organization, and is still chasing after Luffy, this time in the New World, the second half of the Grand Line and the most dangerous sea in the world.

    Board Games 
  • Colonel Mustard from Clue: he's either a murderer or among a group of people who caught one. Then there is his Manly Facial Hair.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
      • Of course "Colonel" isn't a rank in 616's SHIELD in the first place. His rank is a legacy from his service in the American military before leaving for SHIELD.
  • 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.
  • Wonder Woman: Etta's gotten this treatment in several continuities:
  • The most dangerous hitman in Sin City, and the head of the foremost Murder, Inc. organisation, is a man known only as 'The Colonel'.
  • Buck Danny has been a colonel for years now despite having been a pilot ever since the 1940s (blame Comic-Book Time for that one), pretty much so he can still be allowed to fly.
  • During the "War In the Sun" arc of Preacher, Herr Starr uses his contacts in the American Military to grant him a battalion of soldiers to hunt down Jesse in the American Southwest. When Starr makes one too many dismissive comments towards the battalion's commander, said commander makes it clear that he could care less what connections or position Starr has and threatens to personally cut out Starr's liver and fry it if even one soldier is harmed.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Colonel Diane Foster gets to demonstrate herself to be this again like in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), providing this quote whilst she and the G-Team combat the Many:
    "I think I speak for everyone when I say none of us will sleep at night unless we see to it this zombie apocalypse horseshit is very definitely, permanently, finally burned to ashes, and then we burn the ashes!"
  • 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 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
  • In the Narnia fanfic King Edmund's Crusade the Colonels are not only the badass fighters of the armies but also the field commanders and the leaders of the elite bodyguard units. The senior commanders (below the Four Pevensie Monarchs themselves) are the Marshals - but two of them are explicitly more administrators than fighters. Col Elikolani (a sarcastic, flirtatious black panther) is a brutal fighter far more suited for war than Marshal Altaica (a rather effeminate and cowardly tiger). Marshal Nicodemus of the wolves is no slouch, but Col Rapine is a walking legend.
  • The Judge Dredd fanfic Aegis has Wing Commander Nicolai "Nick" Betancourt. Although he doesn't do anything particularly badass in the story, he is tapped to fly an experimental Justice Department combined platform of a hypersonic air superiority fighter and giant airship. Given the resources the Judges are throwing at this mission, he has to be the best pilot available. Later stories begin to reveal his background as a particularly famous pilot and commander and "the Hero of Pingpongyang".
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Armageddon:
  • Colonel Miles Motherfucking Quaritch of Avatar. He's obviously the 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.
    • So badass that James Cameron has promised that Quaritch is coming Back from the Dead to reappear in all the sequels.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • He may have been a 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 when he was surrounded by all sides by Prawns, who were going to tear him apart regardless, he still went down fighting.
  • Thoroughly averted in Dr. 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."
  • Colonel Günther Reza of Duck, You Sucker! a Silent Antagonist and Implacable Man who survives having a bridge dropped on him, a train explosion, and having half a machinegun clip emptied into him before finally going down.
  • Eve of Destruction: Colonel Jim McQuade to a realistic degree. An army veteran, expert marksman and counter-terrorism expert, he's the guy the government calls in to take down a rogue killer android, but he does get pretty banged up over the course of the film.
  • Colonel Douglas Mortimer in For a Few Dollars More, a former Confederate Army colonel who carries a veritable arsenal with him wherever he goes, and has a personal score with Big Bad El Indio.
  • 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.Thursday is an Expy of George Armstrong Custer, a real-life Colonel Badass, who would be remembered as a great cavalry leader except for one mistake...
  • 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.
  • Col. Andrea Stavros in The Guns of Navarone movie adaptation, the best hand-to-hand fighter in the group.
  • In 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...
  • Col. Hans Landa, a.k.a. the Jew Hunter, from Inglourious Basterds. The epitome of both Magnificent Bastard and Wicked Cultured.
    • He does end World War II by helping the Basterds kill the German High Command.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Col. Hardy from Man of Steel possibly outdoes Quaritch in terms of sheer badassitude, taking on a Kryptonian enemy with a combat knife —and no robot suit— and managing to pull a no-score draw, losing his life but banishing the villain back to the Phantom Zone in the process.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Lt. Col. (full Colonel as of Iron Man 3) James Rhodes, who has a suit of powered armor.
    • Col. Nick Fury, the director of SHIELD and architect of the Avengers. Extra badass props for Fury being portrayed throughout the Marvel Cineverse by none other than Samuel L. Jackson.
    • Col. Chester Philips, who lead the Strategic Scientific Reserve in WWII, the precursor to SHIELD, and commanded Captain America.
  • Colonel James Braddock, from the Missing in Action film series. Played by none other than Chuck Norris, it's a given he's able to kick as much Viet Cong butt as he does.
  • MonsterVerse:
  • Colonel Vincent "Killer" Kane in The Ninth Configuration is a legendary soldier during the Vietnam War. Before the film starts, he suffers a breakdown after chopping a Child Soldiers head off with a wire garrote. He dedicates himself to healing instead of harming, but ultimately a bar full of bikers learn that it's still not a good idea to bully his patients.
  • 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.
  • Col. Benjamin Martin in The Patriot. Single-handedly killed a platoon of Redcoats, including at least three with a tomahawk. Colonel Tavington is an Evil Brit version, kicking the butts of Mel Gibson's ragtag Rebel militia.
    • You gotta give it up for Tavington when his troops are caught with their pants down by a bunch of angry rebels, his soldiers are getting shot all around him. He just stands there, calmly reloading his pistol (which takes a good 20 seconds) and shooting one rebel after another.
  • Colonel Graham from Posse is the evil version. Losing an eye just makes him more determined than ever to hunt down the heroes and retrieve his gold.
  • Col. Sam Trautman, the former trainer and commander of none other than John Rambo. He's more of the mentor 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.)
  • Colonel Pembroke (James Coburn) in A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die!. He escapes from a Confederate P.O.W. Camp and makes his way back into Union territory, despite being branded a coward and wanted as a traitor. He then gets himself arrested to be taken into a Union fort commanded by an old friend of his. He then assembles his own team of Boxed Crooks to undertake a Suicide Mission to retake the impregnable fort he surrendered, and kill the major he surrendered to.
  • Colonel Cord McNally in the first quarter or so of John Wayne movie Rio Lobo is introduced as a seasoned officer, who personally leads the pursuit for a band of confederate train robberies, tracks them for miles cross country and doesn't' hesitate to go riding after about a dozen men alone as his command is gradually forced to split up. After being captured he still manages to turn the tables on his captors. In the post-war sections of the movie, he has left the army to track down the men who betrayed him during the war, and shows signs of becoming a fairly competent gunslinger.
  • 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 doubles his badassitude.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the film adaptation of Street Fighter, Guile has the Colonel rank (he is a Major in the games' continuity), and goes against the Allied Nations' orders to lead a strike team and raid Bison's base to rescue kidnapped AN troopers and relief workers. He's also the one to take on Bison himself, beating him even after he starts using his Psycho Electro powers. This also holds true to the cartoon, which is a direct sequence of the film.
  • Colonel Min Se-hoon, the Inspector Javert character in the Korean film The Suspect. His introductory scene involves him dropping one of his men out of a plane without a parachute in order to save another man's life, then coolly picking up a spare chute, diving after the falling guy, catching him in mid-air, slapping him back to life when they hit the ground, then swaggering away smoking a cigarette. He then puts on a leather jacket and shades and spends the rest of the film ripping apart a secret government conspiracy while simultaneously hunting down a North Korean master assassin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Colonel Stryker in X2: 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 Terry Mancour's The Spellmonger Series, Bold Asgus, Commander of the Orohan's band. He oozes command and confidence. Proficient with almost all weapons, he is a one man wave of death on the field of battle. The man launched himself onto a troll and killed it with one hit. then he dismounted into a double decapitation of nearby Mooks
  • The Discworld's Sam Vimes may be the Commander of the City Watch and even a Duke, but despite the protests of both his wife and the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, refuses to delegate the street jobs to his subordinates, being happiest when walking the streets in cardboard-soled boots in the rain or chasing a dangerous criminal. He abhors the politics he's forced to participate in, and still basically sees the world like a beat copper.
  • Col. Fedmahn Kassad of Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos fights his way through the exploding wreckage of an enemy fleet, plummets down onto a planet and then fights the soldiers there. Later, he gets into hand-to-hand combat with the Shrike, a giant, indestructible Eldritch Abomination covered in spikes. Did we mention it can move faster than light? He is explicitly stated to be the greatest soldier in history which is why godlike A.I.s use his consciousness to create the Shrike.
  • Older Than Radio: Max Piccolomini, colonel of a cuirassier regiment, in Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy (1798-1799). Which unsurprisingly features a number of war-hardened colonels.
  • 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 Breaking Speech.
  • Colonel Sebastian Moran in the Sherlock Holmes stories. In addition to being Professor Moriarty's right-hand man and top assassin, he's a decorated war hero and celebrated big game hunter who once crawled down a sewer drain after a wounded man-eating tiger.
  • While not Colonel, Major Greer from The Passage qualifies.
  • Warhammer 40,000 novels:
    • 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.
      • As of his promotion, Col. Elim Rawne also neatly fits the trope.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • Col. Regina Kasteen of the Valhallan 597th is more noteworthy for her strategic and tactical skill than her record at personal combat, but she's no slouch at the latter. In fact, during The Traitor's Hand, she's positively glad to have a chance to get stuck in, potting traitors with her bolt pistol as they storm her headquarters. Of course, her backstory — that she attained her command by default, being the most senior member of her regiment who was not eaten by Tyranids — attests to impressive badass credentials all by itself.
  • 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.
  • Admiral Jane Roland and eventually Laurence himself after his promotion to admiral in the final book in Temeraire. Jane casually breaks swords in people's chests, wins massive air battles on the back of her acid-spitting dragon and generally impresses everyone she meets. Technically, Temeraire himself also counts in book 5.
  • 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. '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.
  • 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. While not technically a colonel, Sharpe often fulfills a Colonel's duties as his regiment tends to go through colonels like disposable cups.
  • 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 the 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. Sometime 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.
    • Hand of Thrawn: 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Codex Alera: 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 Badass Normal capable of taking on Knights and Canim by himself.
  • In the Legacy of the Aldenata, 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 a 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 Douglas "Duke" Ellington, the F-19 Ghostrider pilot who provided the main point of view character for the central front air war in Germany and the Soviet colonel commanding the MiG-29 regiment at Keflavik both also qualify (both demonstrate their Ace Pilot skills numerous times, the MiG-29 regiment CO survives leading his pilots in a battle against two full squadrons of F-14 Tomcats at one point, while Ellington also gets to demonstrate his all-around badassery by managing to successfully escape and evade after being shot down over hostile territory late in the war).
  • 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. Only then, does he hook up with the main plotline!
  • The Colonel (technically, Lieutenant-Colonel) in George MacDonald Fraser's McAuslan stories, based on a real commander of the 2nd Gordon Highlanders. He is quiet, unassuming, looks like a vulture, and walks with a limp (his leg having been broken by the Japanese as a PoW). He's over retirement age and has served with the battalion since 1914, wounded at Passchendaele and captured at Singapore. But he is highly respected, a Father to His Men, "looked the Japanese in the eye on the Moulmein Railway and said 'no'", and at eighty went into the streets of Belfast with a patrol from his old regiment, just to see what things were like for the new generation.
  • Horatio Hornblower is promoted to Commander at the end of Lieutenant Hornblower, only to be demoted back to Lieutenant and put on half-pay when the French and English declare an armistice. He is promoted back to Commander at the start of Hornblower and the Hotspur, where his exploits eventually earn him a promotion to Captain. In a later book, he is appointed as a Colonel of Marines, a sinecure position granting him extra pay with no extra responsibilities, as an indicator that the Crown is pleased with his performance.
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Munro of the 60th Foot (Royal American Regiment) in The Last of the Mohicans.
  • D'Artagnan in The Vicomte de Bragelonne — as a lieutenant and captain of the king's Musketeers he becomes the equivalent of a colonel and major-general of the regular army.
  • William H. Kraft of Victoria is an eccentric example, since he considers himself a subject of the German Emperor and leads his armored battalion through the campaign to defend New York dressed in a blue, late 19th-century Prussian greatcoat and Pickelhaube. Notwithstanding, he is both a savvy political operator and an absolutely terrifying enemy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The seventh season of 24 features the villainous African, Colonel Ike Dubaku of Sangala. Also a Scary Black Man.
  • Col. John "Hannibal" Smith from The A-Team. "Hannibal", in this case, has nothing to do with the Serial Killer, but the Carthaginian general who almost brought down the Roman Republic. This Hannibal is that good. "I love it when a plan comes together."
    • After the failure of the crappy, bumbling Major sent to hunt the A-Team down, the Army gets serious and brings in Colonel Decker, an unconventional badass in his own right who's very nearly as good as Hannibal. From then on, it goes from pratfall laughs as the Army is outwitted to hair-raising near-misses where the team's celebrations at beating the bad guy of the week are cut short as Decker closes relentlessly in. Decker's first appearance has him chatting with his superiors as he fires off every infantry weapon in the army one by one. Hard-friggin-core.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Taken Up to Eleven in the BBC Edge of Darkness, where all the spooks seem to be colonels.
  • One episode of Flashpoint indicates that Sam Braddock's father literally earned the moniker "Colonel Badass", though he had been promoted to General by the time this was revealed.
  • 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.
  • Commander Harmon "Harm" Rabb, Jr. in JAG. Lieutenant Colonel Sarah "Mac" Mackenzie would also qualify.
    • Thai Colonel Patano in "Déjà Vu". It's made clear that the only reason Harm isn't dead is that Patano never had the intention to kill him.
  • 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. (Sometimes edging towards Colonel Kilgore, occasionally, at least mentally.) His behavior in later appearances became more and more erratic and paranoid; culminating in complete disgrace in his final appearance.
  • 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 Carrillo in Narcos, a highly competent and honest - if somewhat brutal - military officer and the only guy that Escobar was afraid of.
  • 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 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."
  • At the end of the final episode of Raumpatrouille, Major McLane is promoted to Colonel for once again saving Earth.
  • 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) ...and in his real life as a Russian spy, a NKVD 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).
  • 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. Like his last fight with "Chiggie Von Richtoffen," and his "I don't think 'our Lord' wants to hear from me right now," speech.
  • Stargate SG-1 features Jack O'Neill, Samantha Carter, and Cameron Mitchell.
    • 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 mantle with his actions in "Incursion", part 1.
      • Once he gets his act together though, he quickly regains this status.
    • There's also Colonel David Telford (played by Lou Diamond Phillips).
  • Kira Nerys becomes one of these in the final season of Star Trek: 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. Any Starfleet officer that's a Captain or higher was one. Ben Sisko of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 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 repeatedly went down to planets himself and got into dangerous situations (it's a rare The Captain who can solve problems by punching them).
  • 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.
    • Her successor Rachel Dalton, while not actually a Colonel (Captain upon introduction, promoted to Major at the end of the episode), displays some serious badass cred in the season two opener, using an anti-tank rocket to blast through a Somali blockade about midway through the episode and generally keeping up effortlessly with Scott and Stonebridge on the battlefield until their extraction arrives. As a bonus, she initially appears to be little more than a junior bureaucrat until she finds said rocket launcher in the enemy's weapons cache.
      • From Shadow Warfare onward, Colonel Philip Locke takes the reigns of leadership from Dalton after she has made questionable decisions during the course of the season and becomes the official leader after her untimely death. Colonel Phillip Locke is a 30 year veteran of the British Army and served in every conflict Britain was involved in during that time. Stonebridge is clearly impressed that Locke is involved in their mission. Locke then proves his reputation correct when he singlehandedly saves Major Dalton from a hitman. When the team is ambushed at an airport, Locke's response is to go on the offensive and kill everything (until getting attacked from behind). Later, when forced to dig his own grave, he instead kills the men guarding him, and nearly escaped on his own. And even while wounded and being tortured, and offered the name of the man who killed his son, he still won't give up NATO secrets.
    • Colonel Alexander Coltrane of Revolution and Vendetta kicks ass in every action sequence he's in, either physically, with a gun, or with both.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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 the Colonel Badass of Army NCOs. Any officer who doesn't give their advice careful consideration is extremely foolish.
  • Colonel Cedric Daniels in The Wire. He starts as a Lieutenant, and becomes Majorly Awesome, Colonel Badass, and finally Da Chief, before realizing he doesn't want to be at the head of such a flawed police department. the fact that he immediately starts getting blackmailed doesn't help. He quits and becomes a lawyer.
  • 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.


    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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 was attacked by a Miral land shark that tore off his arm. Instead of dying like a lesser man would, he killed the beast with his "fang"-pattern combat knife and walked 30 miles to safety(some sources claim he tore the beast's throat out with his teeth, but that may be exaggeration). He then had his arm replaced with a bionic one and continued commanding his men. Since then he's survived multiple life-threatening injuries and his body is riddled with bionics, making him as much a machine as a man. He's as tough as a space marine and can 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.
    • The Tau Empire's Shas'o (lit. "Commander") are this to a man (or woman). Even ignoring the named characters such as Farsight or Shadowsun, the rank structure of the Tau requires every Fire Caste soldier begin as a lowly shas'la. After four years of service, they earn the right to take on a Trial of Fire which, depending upon their sept, may be a live-action training mission of some description, a highly realistic simulation, or a real-life mission of vital importance. If the soldier is successful, he graduates to shas'ui (sergeant). After another four years, and another, more difficult Trial of Fire, he may attain the rank of shas'vre (lieutenant); then another four years of service and another Trial to become a shas'el or "sub-commander". Shas'el may lead Hunter Cadres, but to become shas'o he has to complete the cycle one more time. Every single shas'o has at minimum 16 years experience, in everything from footslogging to battlesuit combat; he has passed four of the nastiest, most realistic tests his superiors can imagine; he is equipped with a Crisis battlesuit and the best technology the Empire can provide; and as if that isn't enough he is accompanied by a squad of handpicked shas'vre.
  • In BattleTech, this is one of the requirement for a Star Colonel in the Clans, in which they have plenty fighting experiences, or they take it by Trial of Position from another Star Colonel.
  • In the wargame The 20th Maine (later renamed ''Little Round Top''), each of the regimental commanders (a colonel) is represented by a named piece. While they are present primarily for command and control rules, the highest ratings go to Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the 20th Maine (see under Real Life).
  • In Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader the leaders with the highest morale and biggest bonus to various die/dice rolls (10 -3) are given the rank of colonel. A few historical leaders who were not colonels at the time also get these ratings.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Also leader of a faction, and if played right, the entire world. Still, never promotes herself above colonel.
    • In the first of the novelizations by Michael Ely (one of the writers for the game), Santiago personally leads an elite unit of her Myrmidons to storm the UN Headquarters (the Peacekeepers' home base), which has been under Spartan siege for days. Not only does this seal the base's fate, but she also ends up personally killing Pravin Lal's son in revenge for him killing her son.
  • 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...
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Colonel Burton, the U.S.' hero unit in Generals and Zero Hour kills enemy soldiers (and aircraft due to a bug in earlier versions) stealthily with his knife, sets demolition charges - he can destroy a base at once with remotes, one at a time with timed ones, and in one case, destroyed a chemical lab with one without even getting close by creating an avalanche -, is hard to see, and totes the most powerful bullet-based weapon of the game, able to kill even tanks.
    • Though he was only a captain during Renegade, Nick "Havoc" Parker was ultimately promoted to colonel before his retirement, in spite of his antics on the 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: Snake Eater. Yes, he's evil. Doesn't detract one bit from his badassitude.
    • Also from Metal Gear, 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 Metal Gear Solid? He gave orders to Solid Snake.
  • The King of Fighters has 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) holds the rank of Colonel as well.
  • Rolento from Final Fight (who later appears in Street Fighter Alpha) is quite badass, and also inspired by the Colonel from Fist of the North Star.
  • 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.
  • X-COM
    • The abilities of soldiers in the MicroProse games generally improve as they survive more missions, as does their rank depending on the number of soldiers. The rank of colonel is the second-highest in UFO Defense, next to the commander, which you can only get one of at any time. The rank is mostly tied to morale boosts (and losses if a high-ranking soldier gets killed), but to reach Colonel rank, a soldier has to have been through a truckload of missions where they've acted and most likely improved their skills.
    • In the reboot, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, soldiers are promoted based on their experience gain, and gain stat boosts and abilities unlocked as they do so. Colonel is the highest rank attainable, and marks an operative with the highest stats and most abilities within their class. Hell, Colonel-level abilities alone are only not game-breaking because it takes so long to get to them. And unlike in the older games, promotions aren't restricted by a hierarchy system, so all 70 spots of your barracks can be occupied by Colonels.
  • 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 everyone else in your species is Cannon Fodder or, even worse, resources for the alien invaders.
  • Killzone: 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: The Umbrella Chronicles, 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.
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon gives us a USAF Colonel for the protagonist and a Russian Colonel for the antagonist.
  • 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. And he's a gigantic scum.
    • Chronophantasma includes Colonel Kagura Mutsuki, who's not only the leader of the highest clan amongst the NOL Duodecim... but also a surprisingly pleasant dude. To fill in the badass part, he Curb Stomps Ragna and fights Noel/Mu-12 on equal terms.
  • 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, despite being a Major.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the rank of "Legate" fills a niche that resembles Colonel (in the regard of "highest ranked line officer"). Legate Rikke fits the bill of Legate Badass, and if you side with the Empire in the civil war, you eventually are promoted to Legate as well.
  • Pit, as of Kid Icarus: Uprising is the Captain of the Guard for Palutena, and he leads the charge against all of her enemies (and he even points out at one point that he's an officer, not just an enlisted man). The sheer number of foes he rips through (including the top generals of the Forces of Nature and Hades, the god of the underworld himself) cements his badass credentials as well.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles X, Elma was a Colonel of the Coalition forces prior to Earth's destruction. Her combat prowess is nigh-legendary, and the BLADEs that served under her back then still address her by the title out of respect.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III has Kurt Irving, leader of the Nameless Squadron.
    • He also ends up becoming the highest ranking soldier in Project X Zone where he leads the party in one stage.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III has Colonel Neithardt, who was promoted between II and III and is the The Ace of the strongest army of the empire, the Fourth Armored Division.
  • Colonel Moscardó, a major character in COD 2 Spanish Civil War Mod. Defiantly refuses to surrender the Alcazar despite the enemy having an overwhelming advantage and threatening to murder his son held in their captivity.

    Web Comics 
  • Zephyr Crow of The Wandering Ones Definitely qualifies for this trope; she is faster and stronger than the Special Forces men she trains, and before that, she and her husband single-handedly killed the leaders of over 35 Kilabyker gangs.
  • Air Force Blues: Col Alvis "Minnie" Gunnar and Lt. Col. Mike "Deadlock" Rowland.
  • Commander Badass of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things was literally created by the space future military to be this, hence the name.
  • Maxima of Grrl Power is a Colonel in the US Air Force, Arc-SWAT's field commander, and the strongest (heroic) superhuman in the setting.

    Web Original 
  • 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.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • 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 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.
    • 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 have fought in both Munich and Okinawa in just mere days of each other. He's more a Small Name, Big Ego 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 Philippines, all of which have been cited by Cotton as locations he fought at.
      • All that needs to be said: When he came back from the war, his shins were gone. Colonel Badass through and through.
  • Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales: If any of Commander McBragg's tales are true (which is highly debatable), he would definitely qualify.
  • Just about all of the Clone Commanders in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but perhaps with emphasis on Captain CT-7567 'Rex', especially since he would go on to become an officer in the Phoenix Squadron Rebel Cell for The Rebel Alliance.
  • Colonel K, the superior to Danger Mouse, has many accomplishments to his credit (piano throwing, climbing Mt. Everest on a pogo stick, etc.), and his mission orders are ironclad. It gets subverted sometimes as he can be as addled as DM's assistant Penfold.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
    • His badassitude is even greater in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar books, merrily going up against a superior alien foe. During one battle, when a Race landcruiser is blasting everything and everyone in the vicinity, he waltzes up to it and throws a satchel charge in-between the turret and the chassis. He also ends up liberating Mussolini right from under the lizards' snouts. And yes, the lizards speak his name as a curse.
    • Possibly averted and based on good publicity; most of Skorzeny's missions were failures, and the famous rescue of Mussolini's was largely someone else's plan which Skorzeny got credit for (and apparently got in the way rather than helping during the actual operation).
  • 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, which in turn helped get him elected as the first President of the United States.
  • Washington's protege Alexander Hamilton became a colonel during the revolution. His contemporaries (including his mistress) referred to him as Colonel Hamilton throughout his civilian career. He didn't do many badass things during the war, but his life included such highlights as founding America's first bank, building the treasury department, creating the Coast Guard, and helping suppress the Whiskey Rebellion.
  • 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. He got sent to two different concentration camps:Sachsenhausen and Dachau, and escaping both times. When he returned to Britain ready to go back to the battlefield, the war ended, and that pissed him off.
  • 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. Coming from military roots, 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.
  • 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 is thought to have been one factor in the plot's 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. He's also the most decorated Marine in the history of the Corps, with a long history that has achieved Memetic Mutation level amongst Marines.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith, Australian Army. Known for his real-life Conservation of Ninjutsu at the Battle of Long Tan in the Vietnam War.
  • Ken Reusser, a USMC fighter pilot in three different wars (World War II, 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. He was awarded 110 separate medals, of which the following were for heroism: eight Purple Hearts, two Distinguished Service Crosses, ten Silver Stars, seven Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and the Valorous Unit Award. 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.
  • Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain commanded the 20th Maine during The American 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. Later promoted to Brigadier General in recognition of his competence and badassery—which he persisted in nevertheless.
  • Aided by his father, a former Wisconsin governor and current Wisconsin court judge, Arthur MacArthur managed to secure himself an officer's commission in the Union Army in 1862 at the age of 17. He quickly proved he deserved it, as he went on to see action at Chickamauga, Stones River, Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, and Franklin. During the Chattanooga Campaign, MacArthur inspired his regiment by seizing and planting the regimental flag on the crest of Missionary Ridge at a particularly critical moment, shouting "On Wisconsin." For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and a promotion to Colonel at the age of 19, earning himself the nickname "the boy Colonel". He went on to survive being severely wounded by a rebel officer's pistol at the battle of Franklin, and would spend a total of 47 years in the army, retiring in 1909 at the rank of Lt. General. Yet despite all this, he was largely overshadowed by his son Douglas, who commanded U. S. Army forces in the Pacific during World War 2.
  • Colonel John S. Mosby of the Confederate Army earned the nickname "The Gray Ghost" for his ability to conduct daring cavalry raids deep behind Union lines and then simply melt away into the civilian population. Even as the war dragged on and much of Northern Virginia fell into Union hands, that area would still be known as "Mosby's Confederacy" as he would continue to conduct operations there with near-complete impunity. Despite being seriously wounded twice, Mosby survived the war and lived until 1916 at the age of 82.
  • Colonel Hiram Berdan joined the Union Army in 1861. A highly skilled marksman and engineer before the war, Berdan immediately went to work recruiting the best shooters he could find for a new elite sniper unit, the 1st United States Sharpshooters (nicknamed Berdan's sharpshooters). Forced to pass rigorous marksmanship tests to gain entry, Berdan's sharpshooters were given distinctive green uniforms and equipped with high tech (for the time) rifles, such as the Colt Revolving Rifle and the Sharps rifle, often equipped with telescopic sights. Berdan's sharpshooters quickly became feared and respected as one of the most elite units in the Union army throughout the war.
  • Confederate Colonel John B Gordon, who joined the army with no prior military experience, earned himself a promotion to General for his actions at the 1862 Battle of Antietam, where he continued to lead his men after suffering two shots to his leg, one shot to the arm, and one in the shoulder before finally going down when a bullet passed through his cheek and exited out his jaw. Not only did Gordon survive all these wounds, but he was back in action just a few months later. Despite all these injuries and an additional head wound in 1864, Gordon managed to serve on for the entire duration of the war.
  • Colonel John T. Wilder. Wilder joined the Union Army as a Captain in 1861 and saw his first major action when commanding a small garrison at Munfordville, Kentucky during the Confederate invasion of the state. When faced with an attack from a much larger Confederate Army, Wilder initially rejected their surrender demands, telling Confederate General James Chalmers "I think we'll fight for a while." The following day, Wilder's garrison repulsed the Confederate attack, inflicting 283 casualties with a loss of 37. Eventually forced to surrender to overwhelming numbers, Wilder was released in a prisoner exchange and went on to form the "Lightning Brigade", an elite unit of mounted infantry armed with state of the art 7-shot Spencer repeating rifles, which would go on to achieve great success and glory during the Chickamauga campaign.
  • 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-1960s and served in Vietnam, one of the hero's of the Battle of Ia Drang. He led the evacuations of both World Trade Center attacks and 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. He succeeded in getting the other 2700 employees safely out, singing "Men of Harlech" over a megaphone in the process.
  • 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 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 penetrate German lines and seize the north end of the bridge where he held out against a 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 Arnhem Bridge was renamed in his honor. He finished his military career as a Field-Marshal and commander-in-chief of British armed forces.
  • Lieutenant Commander Patrick Dalzel-Job. His rank equates closer to Major, but nevertheless his Naval Intelligence Commando unit (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. 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).
    • Also survived the near-loss of Gemini 8 with Neil Armstrong due to steel nerves and badass piloting. On the other hand, he got in trouble for trying to profit off Apollo 15 by selling souvenirs.
  • Lieutenant Colonel John U. D. Page, an artillery officer who served in the Korean War and received 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 literally reenlisted himself (flying into Chechnya on his own with his own gear), was accepted, then 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, he reportedly covered a wounded soldier with his body, suffering a shrapnel wound, proceeding to completely ignore it until his unit got back to safety. The guy's also an accomplished engineer, designing and building a lot of his unitnote  equipment and gear, like the combat buggies and such. Like Lawrence of Arabia, Lebed' died far from the battlefield, in a high-speed motorcycle crash in 2012.
  • 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 lose 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, a colonel in the Army Air Force, the 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.
  • Claire Lee Chennault, commander of the Flying Tigers held the rank of Colonel in the US Army Air Force, then the Chinese Air Force, and then again in the USAAF before he was promoted to Brigadier General in 1942.
  • Colonel Peter Julien Ortiz, USMC. Though he didn't get promoted to Colonel until after WW2, Ortiz had an enormous amount of combat experience and badassitude, too much to list here so this entry will be restricted to one notable incident. He was operating with an OSS team in France over a year before the Normandy invasion and would openly wear his USMC uniform in rural areas and in towns, a fact which cheered the French but drew the attention of the occupying German forces. One particular incident involves some German soldiers at a café in a French town boasting about what they were going to do to him when they found him. Ortiz strolled into the cafe, wearing a freaking cape, whereby he threw the cape back to reveal his US Marine uniform and a .45 pistol in each hand. He took out the enemy soldiers and was long gone by the time any reinforcements showed up.
  • Lt.Col. Alfred Wintle. Talked a dying soldier out of a scarlet fever-induced coma, was arrested for trying to steal a plane and signed his own arrest warrant, was captured by Vichy French whereupon he informed his captors it was his duty to escape...and did.
  • Subverted with Muammar Gaddafi. Though state media made him out to be this, as is common of a dictatorship, in practice he went down rather quickly once the rebels got their hands on him.
  • In an aversion, "colonel" was for a long time simply the "constitutional monarch" (so to speak) of a given regiment (originally meaning mercenary unit on permanent contract to The Government from the Latin regimentum). He, or she on rare occasions, might indeed be a badass, but their badassery and their colonelcy were unrelated. That is because, in several armies, a regiment was a ceremonial and administrative unit rather than a tactical unit, and the highest rank to go into battle specifically as a member of a given regiment was Lt Colonel. General officers in the British army often retained colonelcies for much of their career, but this was a ceremonial position. For instance, General Killalot might also be Colonel of the Duke of Earl's own fusiliers, but his only relation would be to pay for the band or the silverware or whatnot.
  • US Air Force Colonel John Stapp, hands down. In the interest of science, he strapped himself to a rocket sled and ended up subjecting himself to a force 46.2 times the force of gravity and lived. At the time, it was believed that 18 G was fatal. Basically, his work showed that as long as the human body is properly restrained, it can take a lot more Gs than first expected. He also felt that it was possible to go higher if the person was facing backwards (the 46.2G run was forwards). He ended up applying his rocket sled research to cars and lobbying to make seat belts mandatory in all vehicles, saving countless lives.
  • Colonel Colin Mitchell, who ignored direct orders and restored British prestige by recapturing the city of Aden in 1968, in the counter-insurgency war prior to Aden's independence from the British Empire. Communist rebels had previously disregarded British forces as weak and ineffectual. Most of this perception was down to flawed orders from an out-of-touch government keen to avoid conflict and appease the natives. "Mad Mitch" Mitchell's aggressive action changed all this and his show of force scared the rebels and insurgents into relative quiet.
  • Yugoslav partisan Colonel Sava Kovačević had a reputation for great personal courage. Highlights include single-handedly capturing an Italian tankette without using any anti-tank weapon, leading an infantry assault that destroyed another three Italian tankettes by leaping onto them and attaching explosives and making daring raids behind enemy lines. His career was cut short when he was gunned down during the partisan breakthrough from German encirclement at the Sutjeska River, June 1943.
  • The late, great, Marine Col. John Glenn, who was an ace pilot before becoming the first American in orbit and much later, the oldest man in space.
  • While commanding the 8th Fighter Wing in Vietnam Col. Robin Olds gained far more fame for his hard-charging leadership style and innovative tactics than he had as a double ace with 12 aerial victories in World War II (he shot down another 4 MiGs in Vietnam). Olds later retired as a Brigadier General, but is still best remembered for his command of the 8th Wing...and for the mustache he sported during that time.
  • Although Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon ultimately reached the rank of marshal in the Brazilian Army, he carried out his most badass achievements while still a colonel. To wit:
    • He led the construction of over 5,000 km of telegraph lines through southern and western Brazil, including what was then The Wild West, but also many areas that no "civilized" Brazilian had been before (or at least, had not returned from).
    • He established peaceful relations with tribes such as the Nambikwara and Bororo (following the motto "Die if necessary, but never kill"), and remained a lifelong advocate for protecting natives' rights and cultures.
    • Along with Theodore Roosevelt, he led an expedition down the then-unknown "River of Doubt" (Rio da Dúvida) in 1914. Although the expedition had been poorly planned from the standpoint of equipment and logistics, Rondon's wilderness expertise—and his decision to have another officer come upriver from the Amazon as far as possible, just in case—ended up making the difference between life and death for most of the men.
  • Agustin de Iturbide of México. Nicknamed El Dragón de Hierro, or the Iron Dragoon, he never lost a battle in four years of the Mexican War of Independence, often defeated greater forces than his own, once repelled the entry of 500 foot soldiers with just 34 of his dragoons, and with just his dragoons by his side dealt defeat to the greatest enemy general, José María Morelos, thought to be almost invincible at the time. As a royalist dragoon, he climbed the ranks but was most attached to his rank of Colonel of the Celaya Regiment. He would go on to liberate México almost single-handedly, acquiring the ranks of General, Admiral, and Generalissimo along the way, and even being elected as Emperor, but always wore his Colonel uniform, even to his crowning.
  • Some civil war historians credit the early success of the South in the American Civil War to superior leadership. In support of this trope, the North managed to collect every single pre-war general bar one (Joseph E. Johnston), leaving the South almost no one higher than Colonel including their eventual supreme commander, Robert E. Lee.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Commander Badass


Man of Steel - Colonel Badass

Colonel Hardy. When he comes up against Faora, he starts in a helicopter. She crashes it. He then crawls out of the wreckage and empties two guns into her (after watching her effortlessly annihilate his men). When he clicks dry without their having the slightest effect, he pulls out a knife. She's impressed enough to let him get into a fighting stance, pass on some Kryptonian wisdom, and draw her own knife instead of just walking all over him.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / ColonelBadass

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