Kentucky Colonel Badge (Official Badge)

Kentucky colonels can and should carry a badge in the event they need to officialize festivities that require a colonel's presence. There should always be evidence that there was a colonel there, so take a photo with your badge, especially if you do not look like a colonel!

Identifying Yourself with the Idea of the Kentucky Colonel

Badges and symbolic forms of identification are developed to promote the ideas of Kentucky colonelcy. In general a badge, pin or identity card is used to distinguish or show allegiance to the ideal of what it means to be a Real Kentucky Colonel. Kentucky colonels today, because of the popularity of the award must create their own pomp and show to be recognized in society and individually distinguish themselves based on the act of being recognized by the Governor. It is estimated that 1 in 1,000 people could be Kentucky colonels in America today.

The Kentucky Colonel™ Badge was created by Col. David J. Wright who discovered in 2020 many of the lost origins of the the Kentucky Colonel Title used as early as 1776 in Colonial Virginia. It is a replica of the badge used by the Kentucky Colonel Model Initiation Club in 1917, which was made of silver. Col. Wright will be producing 100 solid silver badges in Mexico with a Kentucky Colonel who is a silversmith there for the 250th anniversary of the Kentucky Colonel in 2025.

Kentucky Colonel Badge is Not Available in Stores

It is unlawful to impersonate a Kentucky Colonel unless you are an actual Kentucky Colonel, this can be easily determined by reading the case files of the HOKC, aka Kentucky Colonels v. Col. David J. Wright, et. al. the lawsuit established clearly that the HOKC was founded based on a fictitious militia order without evidence based on the credibility of government. Real historians never believed them, either did Col. George Chinn who presided over the Kentucky Historical Society, the case was dismissed but did earn several points of merit with the court regarding their own trademark.

Due to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels making threatening legal demands against badge manufacturers it is difficult to have a Kentucky Colonel Badge manufactured by a US badge manufacturer. There is no prohibition or restrictions on a Kentucky Colonel ordering their own badge however, despite this some badge manufacturers are reluctant, but most will still make a badge for colonels, sometimes requesting a photo of a persons commission or requiring that a badge be personalized.

By law a Kentucky Colonel has the right to identify themselves as a colonel and honorary civilian officer that is an ambassador of goodwill. We recommend that all living and active colonels, identify themselves prominently using their Honorific Titles complimented by an ID Card, nameplate and wallet mounted badge when travelling or at work, however to promote that position we had to develop a handbook which is available only to Kentucky colonels that are actively employed.

Kentucky Colonel Badges

There have been a variety of badges developed over the years that have been used to identify Kentucky colonels. The first one we could identify was from 1913, it was made by someone with the Kentucky Colonel Model Initiation Team of the Honorable Order of the Blue Goose International which was started officially in Chicago in 1917, all of the members of the group acted, conducted themselves and even dressed like Kentucky colonels. A photo of their group is on our home page.

While it may be a coincidence that the "Silver Star" coincides with the first Kentucky Colonel Commission of Richard Mentor Johnson by the Kentucky Legislature in 1813, an entrepreneur coincidentally reproduced the badge in 2013 in gold color. The design has caught on well enough that it has become our logo and an official symbol representing Kentucky colonelcy semantically.

Kentucky Colonel Silver Star Badge 1913
Original "Kentucky Colonel" Silver Star (replica) used by the Kentucky Colonel Model Initiation Team in 1913.

Badge and Identity Laws

There are no specific laws that state a Kentucky Colonel should not, or shall not be allowed to carry or use a badge or a quality identification credential. A Kentucky colonel is a legally commissioned officer with honorary status, in the "old days" the status involved an official act, a commission, duties, identification, a medal and a uniform. Over the years, by 1921 the official duties, medal and uniform had all disappeared, but not the colonel because of his great significance in establishing the Commonwealth in 1792.

In 1957 Chief Justice Combs said, "Kentucky Colonels and notaries public are [commissioned officers] created in the name of the Commonwealth [under the authority of] its Chief Executive."

Adapted from the only applicable law in the Kentucky Revised Statutes Title XIII, Education § 164.980: (Impersonation of a Police Officer Prohibited) No person shall falsely represent himself/herself to be a [Kentucky Colonel] and in such assumed character, arrest, or detain, or search, or question, in any manner the person or property of any person, nor shall any person without the authority of the Governor wear an official uniform, insignia, badge, or other identification bearing the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Fake Kentucky Colonel Insignia based on US Army Aide
This (non-official) fictional insignia depicts a false representation of the Kentucky Colonel, the idea caught on with some colonels in 2014 before colonels understood the perils of false representation symbols. If you see someone using one of these pins, ask them to remove it. It adds politics, nationalism and a broader set of values to the idea of the Kentucky Colonel, it subdues the true Kentucky lifestyle that makes it unique. The only thing real about this badge or pin is the word Kentucky, everything else is a hegemonic conceptual idea of statehood with 5 stars or militarism? All that is might be the number of years it took for Col. Isaac Shelby to make it an independent state.

Other Badges

Others have created various badges for Kentucky colonels, however these badges are not considered to be official or accepted for various reasons. The Kentucky Sheriff's Association uses a "Five Point Star Ball Tipped Badge" this type of badge is restricted and requires proper law enforcement ID to purchase or use in Kentucky.

Kentucky Colonel Badge from the Department of Public Safety 1920s

Colonel Aide-de-Camp

The origins of this badge is unknown, according to other colonels it may be an original Department of Public Safety badge that belonged to the person immediately under the governor before the establishment of the Kentucky Justice & Public Safety Cabinet which oversees the Kentucky State Police, Department of Corrections and other departments.
Kentucky Colonel Badge 5 Point Ball Tipped (Unlawful in Kentucky)

Kentucky Colonel 5 Point

This badge is obviously relatively old, perhaps from the 1960's or 70's, the enamel lettering is deteriorated in the word "colonel". Because the Kentucky Sheriff's Association claims rights over 5 pointed ball tipped stars in the state it is not recommended that Kentucky colonels have such a badge produced or made.
Kentucky Colonel Shield Type Badge (Novelty)

Kentucky Colonel Shield

This shield was made for a Kentucky colonel who is a law enforcement officer in New York by Blackinton® which is a major supplier of police and fire department badges. According to the badge owner it is the type of badge that was used by several colonels that were part of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels of NY.